An Alexander County Grand Jury returned true bills of indictment for two murders on Friday.31-year old Areli Aguirre-Avilez of Taylorsville and 18-year Heidi Darlene Wolfe of Wilkesboro were indicted for the murders of Juan Carlos Mendez-Pena and Luis Fernando Sanchez. Their bodies were found in a burned pickup truck last November in Grayson County, Virginia. Also found was Maria Calderon Martinez. Both suspects have already been charged with her murder as well as her children 11-year-old Angel Pacheco and his 13-year-old sister America Pacheco. The children’s bodies were found in a burned mobile home in Northern Alexander County last June. Both had suffered gunshot wounds prior to the fire. Last June Alexander County Sheriff Chris Bowman called the death of Martinez and the children a mass murder. He related how this was the most difficult case for him to deal with in his over 40 years of law enforcement experience.
After the duo was charged, Wolfe told investigators that she ran over Martinez (thinking at the time, it was one of the children) on the orders of her boyfriend , Areli Aguirre-Avilez. She said they dumped the body in the Catawba River in Southern Alexander County. Multiple searches were conducted in the waters that border Alexander and Catawba Counties.
As the investigation continued, Bowman said that some of what Wolfe was telling investigators was “not adding up” and the water-searches were halted. Sheriff Bowman said weeks later, that it was his belief that the children’s mother was with two men identified as Juan Carlos Mendez-Pena and Luis Fernando Sanchez. Mendez-Pena was said to be in a relationship with Martinez after she had ended a relationship with Areli Aguirre-Avilez.
Last November, hunters in Virginia found a burned- pickup truck in a wooded area. Three bodies were found in the truck. D.N.A. evidence confirmed in February, the bodies were those of Maria Calderon Martinez, Juan Carlos Mendez-Pena, and Luis Fernando Sanchez.
Both suspects, now facing five counts of murder, are being held without bond in the Alexander County Detention Center. Areli Aguirre-Avilez of Taylorsville has been confirmed by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement Agency to be in the United States illegally.