LATEST: What we know about the murders of pregnant teen Savanah Soto and boyfriend Matthew Guerra

Christopher Preciado, 19, his father, 53-year-old Ramon Preciado, his stepmother 47-year-old Myrta Romanos, have all been taken into custody

LEON VALLEY, Texas – San Antonio police have made three arrests in connection with the shootings of Savanah Soto and Matthew Guerra.

Christopher Preciado, 19, and his father, Ramon Preciado, 53, were both taken into custody late Wednesday, Jan. 3.

Myrta Romanos, 47, believed to be Christopher’s stepmother, was taken into custody on Wednesday, Jan. 10. Police said the gun used in the slayings belonged to her.

According to police, the murders of Soto, 18, who was pregnant, and Guerra, 22, just days before Christmas stemmed from a drug deal. They were found dead in Guerra’s Kia Optima at an apartment complex in the 5900 block of Danny Kaye on the afternoon of Tuesday, Dec. 26, authorities and family members confirmed to KSAT.

“The individual that, again, Christopher, we believe committed the murders of Matthew and Savanah, and then Ramon helped, but it appears to be a narcotics, a narcotic-related deal that went bad,” Sgt. Washington Moscoso of the San Antonio Police Department said.

‘All kinds of emotions’: Matthew Guerra’s family reacts to arrests made in capital murder case

Police say Soto and Guerra were killed on Dec. 21, but officers found the bodies days later in a car parked at a Northwest Side apartment complex.

Though police released surveillance video of the suspects to the public, they say it was actually information from a victim’s cellphone that helped identify both Christopher Preciado and Ramon Preciado as suspects.

“He (Ramon) knew why the police were there, was cooperating fully with the investigation and (they) were brought here to headquarters. And our detectives were able to start interviewing both the son and the father again,” Moscoso said.

During a press conference on Wednesday, Jan. 10, police said there are no further arrests expected in the case. The gun police believe was used in the shooting was found hidden in Romanos’ room.

SAPD said there also could be more charges to come, specifically related to the death of Soto’s unborn baby.

Christopher Preciado is charged with capital murder, abuse of corpse and alter/destroy/conceal human corpse. His bonds total $2 million.

Ramon Preciado is charged with abuse of a corpse and alter/destroy/conceal human corpse. His bonds total $600,000.

Romanos is charged with abuse of a corpse, alter/destroy/conceal of a human corpse and tampering with evidence.

For details on how investigators led to arresting the father and son, click here. For details on what led to Romanos’ arrest, click here.

Below is a comprehensive timeline of this case so far, including surveillance footage and the vigils held by the families of Soto and Guerra.

Police locate the bodies at Northwest Side apartment complex

The search for Savanah Soto, a pregnant woman who was reported missing by her family when she didn’t show up at the hospital to be induced, ended in tragedy days after Christmas when she was found dead in a car with her boyfriend, Matthew Guerra.

SAPD Chief William McManus said the incident was being investigated as a “capital murder” and that police did not believe it was a murder-suicide. He initially called the scene “perplexing.

On Wednesday, Dec. 27, SAPD said the pair each sustained a “gunshot wound” and referred to both as victims. They reported that an unborn child was pronounced dead at the scene.

The Bexar County Medical Examiner provided the cause of death for Guerra as a “contact gunshot wound to the head.” The manner of death was reported as a homicide late Thursday.

The ME’s Office positively identified Soto as the other victim. Her cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head, and her manner of death was reported as a homicide.

SAPD releases video of persons of interest in deaths of Soto, Guerra

The San Antonio Police Department released a video showing persons of interest in the shooting deaths of Soto and Guerra.

In a media briefing available below, McManus said the video shows two persons of interest and the case is being investigated as a capital murder.

The video shows one person getting out of a dark-colored pickup truck with a bed cover and approaching the driver’s side door of Guerra’s Kia Optima.

A second person is seen getting out of the driver’s seat of Guerra’s Kia Optima. McManus said that person is not Guerra.

Detectives were looking at surveillance videos from several locations to try to determine the events that led up to the double shooting. Detectives also looked at social media and cellphone records to determine the last known communications with the couple.

Christopher Preciadio’s arrest warrant affidavit makes no mention of a gun being discovered in Guerra’s car.

Soto’s family holds vigil celebrating her life

About 100 people — Soto’s family and friends — gathered for a vigil at a North Side park Thursday afternoon.

The family released balloons to honor Soto and her unborn baby, Fabian, at Kenwood Park.

Soto’s grandmother and father released doves.

Savanah Soto's family watches the balloon release at the vigil Thursday. (KSAT)

They set up a memorial with painted rocks and a tree, which is next to the tree the family planted for her slain brother last year.

“She was so excited to have this baby, the house is already baby-ready. She was so excited she was going to be a mommy,” her mother, Gloria Cordova, said earlier this week.

Soto’s funeral services

Soto’s family has set a date for funeral services. They said the funeral will take place at 5 p.m. Friday, Jan. 12, 2023, at Sunset Funeral Home on Bandera Road. She will be buried on Saturday.

Guerra’s family hold vigil at Woodlawn Lake

Dozens gathered at Woodlawn Lake on New Year’s Day to pray, mourn and show support during a vigil for Guerra. His and Soto’s deaths happened just before Soto was going to give birth.

“I miss him, and I’m going to be his voice in this time, and we’re never going to forget him, Fabian, and Savanah and the love they have for each other,” Gabriel Guerra, Matthew’s father said.

A public viewing for Guerra was held on Monday, Jan. 8 at Mission Park Funeral Home. His funeral was held the following day.

Guerra’s family says he was turning his life around

Guerra’s family spoke to KSAT for the first time days after Soto and Guerra’s bodies were found.

“We all lost loved ones and a grandson. Everyone was excited about Fabian’s arrival,” said Gabriel Guerra, Matthew’s father, referring to Soto’s unborn child.

In mourning and confusion, Gabriel said his family is looking for answers.

“I and Matthew would have talks in the last two, three months about what kind of changes he wanted to make, what kind of dad he wanted to be, what kind of sports he wanted Fabian in. He was just excited,” said Gabriel, who admits his son had made mistakes in the past.

Matthew Guerra had charges of unlawful carrying of a weapon, evading arrest and domestic assault. His assault case was from last Christmas, and the victim was Savanah Soto.

Nearly a month after that incident, court documents show Soto requested the charges get dropped.

“They were both drinking more than they should have, and they went back home, and unfortunately, it turned physical,” said Gabriel. “Once Savanah was pregnant, we had talked all the time, and to my knowledge, he never put his hands on her while she was pregnant.”

Gabriel Guerra said though his son had a criminal history and his relationship with Soto wasn’t perfect, they were happy, and Matthew wouldn’t have killed her or the baby.

“Do you think it’s possible that Matthew’s history, or people he shouldn’t been around, could have led to this?” asked KSAT Reporter John Paul Barajas.

“I have no idea what could have caused this –– for someone to kill any baby, any woman carrying a baby,” answered Gabriel Guerra.

Police chief calls crime scene ‘complex’ when bodies discovered

During a news conference on the evening of Tuesday, Dec. 26, McManus said detectives were investigating the crime “as a possible murder.”

“It’s a very perplexing crime scene,” McManus said. “... It’s a complex scene.”

At the time of the news conference, McManus said investigators had not yet moved the bodies.

Joanie Wasil, Soto’s sister-in-law, told KSAT that someone contacted her via Facebook and said they saw the Optima in the parking lot. She contacted the police as she and her family made their way to the scene.

Wasil said she saw Soto and Guerra dead in the vehicle, and she believed they were shot. She glanced at Soto’s face “and didn’t want to see anymore,” Wasil told KSAT.

Wasil added she saw Soto in the front passenger’s seat and Guerra in the back, though police have not confirmed.

The location where the bodies were found is about three miles away from her apartment in the 6000 block of Grissom Road where Soto was last seen at 2 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 22.

CLEAR Alert issued on Christmas Day

DPS issued a CLEAR alert for Savanah Soto on Dec. 25, 2023. (Leon Valley Police)

Leon Valley police said Soto’s family told them that she was supposed to be induced into labor but did not show up at the hospital.

When reached by KSAT on Sunday, Leon Valley police said they received a request for a welfare check from Soto’s family on Friday night.

Investigators went to Soto’s home and did not see any signs of forced entry. Police told KSAT that at the time there was no cause for concern.

LVPD said they had heard that the couple was possibly out of town.

On Monday, Dec. 25, at around 4 p.m., DPS issued the CLEAR Alert for Soto.

The CLEAR Alert stated Soto was last seen in a 2013 Gray Kia Optima. The initial alert gave the temporary Texas license plate number of 4289D57, but an updated alert issued on Tuesday, Dec. 26, added another license plate number TRC9447.

The alert was discontinued just before 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 26.

A CLEAR Alert is a state program for missing adults. CLEAR stands for Coordinated Law Enforcement Adult Rescue and is used to locate and rescue missing, kidnapped or abducted adults, or adults who are in immediate danger.

KSAT reporter Patty Santos explains what prompted the creation of the CLEAR Alert, and why one was not issued sooner in the disappearance of Soto.

Soto was ‘excited’ to be a new mom

Soto’s family gathered outside her apartment on Monday, Christmas Day, and asked for the public’s help in searching for her.

“I don’t know where she’s at or where she could be at because this is not like her,” her mother Gloria Cordova told reporters. “She was so excited to have this baby, the house is already baby-ready. She was so excited she was going to be a mommy.”

Cordova added that there was no reason why she would have intentionally fled.

Wasil said they were expecting to spend Christmas Day with the new mother and baby.

“It’s all she was talking about since she got pregnant... That was her life,” Wasil said. “She was so ready to be a mom. I think she was meant to be a mom.”

Soto’s younger brother was killed in 2022

Soto’s younger brother, Ethan, was killed in a shooting on May 16, 2022, in the 2000 block of Alston Street on the West Side.

At the time, McManus said Ethan, 15, went down the street to meet someone when an argument ensued, leading to the shooting. Ethan Soto was pronounced dead at the scene.

Victor Nathaneal Rivas, now 19 years old, was charged with murder in the case. An arrest warrant affidavit stated the shooting happened over what appeared to be an act of revenge for a drug robbery.

In an interview with KSAT in June 2022, Cardova said Ethan had a big heart.

“I love him ... I miss him. I would have never let him go,” Cordova said at the time.

Their family was behind a Bexar County courtroom brawl involving Rivas. The video of the incident was shared with KSAT in October.

BCSO said after Rivas made a gesture toward Soto’s family members, they jumped a partition in the courtroom and began assaulting Rivas.

Rivas is awaiting trial.

About the Authors

Rebecca Salinas is an award-winning digital journalist who joined KSAT in 2019. She reports on a variety of topics for KSAT 12 News.

Julie Moreno has worked in local television news for more than 25 years. She came to KSAT as a news producer in 2000. After producing thousands of newscasts, she transitioned to the digital team in 2015. She writes on a wide variety of topics from breaking news to trending stories and manages KSAT’s daily digital content strategy.

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