APTOS - An man and woman from rural Aptos were killed at their home Sunday, and a 39-year-old transient was arrested hours later after a manhunt, according to the Santa Cruz County Sheriff's Office.
Deputies were first alerted to a "family disturbance" just before 5 p.m. when a woman called 911 to report that someone had run over her husband with a vehicle outside their house on the 100 block of Ridge View Road. She said there had been a struggle and the line disconnected, according to emergency dispatches.
Around 7:50 p.m., deputies arrested James Henderson, 39, in connection with the slayings.
According to neighbors, Henderson's parents live at the house on the 100 block of Ridge View Road.
Deputy April Skalland declined to identify the couple killed pending notification of family.
Deputies said they found a person dead in the front yard and another dead inside the home when they arrived.
The suspect had fled on foot before deputies arrived, leaving his car at the home. An almost three-hour manhunt ensued, and law enforcement made calls to everyone in the neighborhood warning residents that a suspect, considered armed and dangerous, was on the loose.
"This is crazy. I'm nervous to go over there right now," said Dawn Rogers, who house-sits frequently in the neighborhood.
Henderson was found in a neighbor's yard after deputies conducted a "systematic search yard to yard," deputy April Skalland said. There are no other suspects in the case, she said.
Authorities didn't release causes of death or a motive in the double slayings, which mark the seventh and eighth homicide in the county this year.
Jan. 18: Marco Topete, an 18-year-old from Watsonville, was riding a bike in an industrial area on Second Street near Walker Street in Watsonville when he was shot several times, police said. He died at the scene. Police said Topete was not a gang member but it was a gang-motivated shooting. No one has been arrested.
Feb. 9: Pauly Silva, 32, was shot several times outside a bar on the 1000 block of Cedar Street in Santa Cruz about 12:30 a.m. A 1990s Mercedes was spotted leaving the scene and its description was relayed to authorities. Watsonville police stopped the car near South Green Valley Road minutes later and detained two men. A third man was arrested in Santa Cruz. They were held on gang-related charges as police investigated their possible involvement in the shooting, police said. Those three have not been named as suspects. Silva of Santa Cruz was a plumber, a father of two and a martial arts expert. Police say he was not a gang member.
Feb. 15: Marco Ortega, 18, of Watsonville, was shot multiple times in the upper body while attending a girls soccer game at Watsonville High School around 8 p.m. He was taken to Watsonville Community Hospital, where he died. Police said he was not a gang member but was ‘loosely associated with a gang.' No one has been arrested.
Feb. 26: Santa Cruz police detective Sgt. Loran ‘Butch' Baker, 51, and detective Elizabeth Butler, 38, were killed by Jeremy Peter Goulet on the doorstep of Goulet's home on the 800 block of North Branciforte Avenue. Police had arrived to investigate Goulet's alleged role in a groping and break-in. Goulet, 35, took the deputies guns and car and led police on a 30 minute manhunt where he was shot and killed about a block away on Doyle Street.
Feb. 28: Felipe Reyes, 20, was chased by four men near Lincoln and Alvarado Streets and stabbed to death about 3 p.m. Police said the investigation is being treated as gang-motivated. Watsonville police arrested Andres Rocha, 17, and Eric Romero, 15, both of Watsonville, late March 1 and early March 2. On March 6, police arrested Oscar Vaca Vargas, 20, of Watsonville and an unidentified 17-year-old male from the Watsonville area.
June 30: A man and woman are killed on the 100 block of Ridge View Road outside Aptos. After a manhunt, 39-year-old James Henderson is arrested.