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Classification: Murderer
Characteristics: Torture
Number of victims: 2
Date of murder: August 22/December 25, 2005
Date of arrest: December 26, 2005
Date of birth: July 6, 1976
Victims profile: Conrad Morales, 13 / Ricky Morales, 11 (her nephews)
Method of murder: Beating
Location: Washington/California, USA
Status: Sentenced to death in Riverside County, California on June 26, 2009

photo gallery


Cathy Sarinana - California Death Row

Raul Ricardo Sarinana and his estranged wife, Cathy Lynn, repeatedly abused and ultimately killed their 11-year-old nephew, Ricky Morales, leaving him to die alone in a closet on Christmas Day 2005. They had been convicted in March 2005 of first-degree murder and torture in Ricky's death, with the two separate juries -- one for each defendant -- hearing evidence also recommending that the pair be executed.

Raul Sarinana kicked the child to death after the boy threw up a meal his aunt had made on Christmas Day 2005. Months earlier, Raul Sarinana allegedly killed Ricky's 14-year-old brother, Conrad, in a Randle, Washington mobile home, where the Sarinanas lived with their two small children and nephews prior to relocating to Corona. The Morales brothers went to live with the Raul and Cathy after their mother was briefly jailed in an assault case in Los Angeles County and their father was deported.

Cathy Sarinana was sentenced to death in Riverside County on June 26, 2009.

Raul Sarinana was sentenced to death in Riverside County on July 2, 2009


Raul Sarinana, Cathy Sarinana sentenced to death in nephew's murders

By Alicia Robinson, The Press Enterprise

July 2, 2009

The marriage of Raul and Cathy Sarinana was “a match made in hell” that resulted in the deaths of two defenseless boys, a judge said Friday before sentencing the Corona couple to death.

Raul Ricardo Sarinana, 42, and Cathy Lynn Sarinana, 32, were convicted in March of torturing and murdering 11-year-old Ricky Morales, their nephew. Authorities have said they believe the couple also killed 13-year-old Conrad Morales, Ricky’s brother, in Randle, Wash. Charges have not been filed in that death.

In pronouncing sentences for the Sarinanas in Superior Court in Riverside, Judge Paul E. Zellerbach followed the recommendations two juries made in April. A sentence of death in California is automatically appealed.

Cathy Sarinana will be the 16th woman on California’s death row. Overall, 680 inmates await execution. The most recent execution was in January 2006.

Zellerbach said a dominant factor in his decision was the way Ricky was abused repeatedly by both Sarinanas. In autopsy photos shown at the trial, the boy’s body was covered with new and old scabs, bruises and scars, and a pathologist testified that Ricky had cracked ribs and a torn lung.

“The ongoing and almost mind-numbing extent of the torture inflicted on these boys … is horrifying,” Zellerbach said.

Ricky died in a closet at the Sarinanas’ Corona home on Christmas Day 2005 after Raul Sarinana kicked and beat him for cleaning a bathroom too slowly, according to trial testimony.

Raul Sarinana also told police he had beaten Conrad and later found him dead. The older boy’s body was found encased in concrete in a trash can outside the Corona home.

In a courtroom packed with members of the Sarinana and Morales families and members of the two juries, five of Ricky and Conrad’s relatives told the court Friday how the boys’ deaths have devastated their family.

Rosa Sarinana, the boys’ mother, described how Conrad and Ricky always knew when she was upset and tried to help. Now her main consolation is her youngest son, the child she was carrying when she learned of Conrad and Ricky’s deaths, she said.

She sent Ricky and Conrad to live with the Sarinanas when she and other relatives couldn’t care for them.

“How can I enjoy life after what they’ve done to my sons?” Rosa Sarinana said.

“God has given me another chance, but it’s not the same.”

She and the boys’ sister, Destinee Morales, 19, said they believed death sentences would serve justice, although Rosa added that Raul and Cathy should suffer the torture her sons did.

Jurors were released from their obligations in April but some returned Friday. The harrowing experience of the three-month trial has stayed with Brad Wrightstone, 34, a Riverside resident who was foreman of Raul Sarinana’s jury.

“I pretty much think about it every day,” Wrightstone said. “I wanted to make sure that our decision that we came up with was upheld, and if it wasn’t I wanted to know why".


Raul and Cathy Sarinana

Ricky and Conrad Morales were brothers that were born into a family and system that practically guaranteed that they never stood a chance. They were born to a drug addicted mother who sold drugs to support her habit. Their young childhood was one that was filled with drug abusers, drug deals, violence, SWAT teams, Child Protective Services, extreme physical abuse and neglect. They and their siblings were in and out of protective custody by CPS constantly.

When their mother, Rosa Morales, was sentenced to prison on drug charges, she sent 13-year old Conrad to live with her brother, Raul, a convicted felon, and his lovely wife Cathy Sarinana (aren’t they a handsome couple) who were living in Randle, Washington at the time. 10-year old Ricky was sent to live with her mother. Ricky did not do well with Grandma, telling a trusted teacher, “my life is not worth living,” and writing “die Ricky, die” on his arm. The school, fearing that a 10-year old was suicidal notified

Child Protective Services, who had Ricky admitted to a psychiatric facility for treatment. He was placed under the supervision of social worker, Elia Godinez.

By this time, Rosa had been released from prison but was in no position to reclaim Ricky or Conrad. According to Rosa, the social worker told her, “Conrad seems to be doing fine in Washington, so why don’t you send Ricky to Washington, too? You’ve got one week to send him to Washington or I’m going back to court, and your kids are going back into foster care.’ “In hindsight, it would have been in the best interest of these children for the social worker to have done her job and sent the case back to family court. But instead, Ricky was sent to live with Uncle Raul and Aunt Cathy. Well gee willakers, if Grandma was bad do you think Uncle Raul was any better?

At first, things seemed to be going well with this newly created family. Raul reported to his family that both boys were excelling in school, getting good grades, making friends and playing on the local sports teams. He wove a tale that painted an idyllic life with the boys prospering and flourishing in their new home. But soon the family would learn that it had all been a monstrous lie.

Within a few months, neighbors, police, and the boys’ sister reported that both Conrad and Ricky were being physically and sexually abused. Even though Ricky was never enrolled in school, Conrad was. Classmates reported that Conrad started wearing make up to hid the bruises and complained about his uncle “hurting him.” After local police notified Washington Child Protective Services, they opened an investigation only to close the investigation and call the allegations unfounded. Life for these brothers continued as normal; a living hell.

When their mother, Rosa Morales, finally was ready to bring the boys’ home to California, Raul made excuses. He said he couldn’t afford the airfare. When the boys’ mother pressed the issue in October of 2005, Raul and Cathy reported that Conrad, had run away from home. They said that he had been acting out and had become a discipline problem both at home and at school. They awoke one morning to find Conrad had disappeared. Raul claimed that they were frantically searching for Conrad, but that it would be difficult because Conrad had run away with an older gay lover (remember folks, he’s 13-years old). He told the family that Cathy was so distraught he was sending her and their two young children (yikes, they breed) to live with her sister in Sacramento, California in October of 2005. But Raul vowed not to leave Washington without Conrad. But both Raul and Cathy told social services that Conrad had been sent to live with a different relative out of state. Again, social services closed the investigation.

Ricky and Conrad’s aunt, Berta Cervallos, went to the address that Raul had given in Sacramento on Christmas Eve, 2005 to visit with the boys. She discovered that Raul had given them a fake address. On Christmas morning, Ricky called the Cervallos home and begged to be allowed to return. The family began to make plans for Ricky to return home. Sadly, it would all be in vain. On the evening of December 25, 2005 when most children have played themselves out with their new toys and stuffed themselves with Christmas cookies and food, Ricky Morales lay dying in a closet. Not that Raul or Cathy could be bothered with a little thing like Ricky dying. No, they sat down with family and friends for a Christmas feast while Ricky died from massive internal injuries.

According to Raul Sarinana, it began simply enough – Ricky complained of not feeling well (after a severe beating) and refused to eat his dinner. Cathy was appalled and offended that Ricky would refuse her delectable cuisine. For punishment, Raul ordered Ricky to clean the apartment’s bathroom. It appears that Ricky was not working fast enough for Raul’s liking, so he kicked him. Ricky vomited and Raul kicked him again. Not satisfied, Raul kicked the 11-year old boy a third time. Then he dragged the boy into the bedroom and threw him in the feces strewn closet, where he repeatedly kicked and stomped the boy as Ricky tried to escape. Then he slammed the door and went to eat his Christmas dinner. He’s just Father Christmas isn’t he?

When Cathy went to check on Ricky hours later, she found him dead. Frightened, she called the police. Ricky was pronounced dead on December 25, 2005. On December 26, 2005, both she and Raul were brought in for questioning by Corona police. Raul admitted to disciplining Ricky, but never meant to hurt him. Right. Kicking, punching and stomping on an 11-year old boy is a common discipline practice. Both were promptly arrested.

The police were then notified that there was another brother, who just happened to be missing. They returned to the Sarinana home, and found the body of 13-year old Conrad. It had been stuffed inside of a trash can that was covered in plastic and duct tape then encased in concrete and stored on the carport of their Corona home. Raul admitted that Conrad died after a round of ‘discipline’ on or about August 22, 2005. After the family began to become suspicious, he told authorities that they came up with the story of the older gay lover to cover up the murder. When the family moved from Washington to California, they brought Conrad with them (sick fucks, ain’t they?). It was around this time that they began to think about the necessity of killing Ricky as he had witnessed the murder of his brother.

The autopsy of Ricky showed a history of severe abuse including old fractures, bruises, contusions and what appeared to be cigarette burns over his entire body. Riverside County deputy medical examiner Dr. Mark Fajardo, also found “multiple external traumatic injuries,” according to a pretrial brief filed by the prosecution. “Scars on Ricky’s body were consistent with being whipped with an electrical cord or similar instrument,” the brief states. “Ricky’s scrotum was damaged with a penetrating laceration (oh dear God), and his scrotal sac was severely damaged… There were multiple scars to Ricky’s scalp, primarily centered on the back of his head. He had a severe infection on the back of his legs. Finally, there were multiple circular injuries consistent with cigarette burns located throughout Ricky’s body that were determined to be at least several weeks, if not several months, old.”

Witnesses reported that they had seen both Raul and Cathy abuse Ricky. Cathy was reported to have treated Ricky as a personal slave ordering him to clean up after her and her children. Police and neighbors say the boys grew thin, while the Sarinanas and their two children showed no signs of undernourishment (duh, did you see the pictures of them). No autopsy reports were available for Conrad, but it is a safe bet that his body had the same evidence of abuse that Ricky’s had.

Both Raul and Cathy were charged with first-degree murder, and child endangerment with a special circumstance of inflicting torture in the death of Ricky. Cathy has claimed that she is suffered from “battered wife syndrome” and had no knowledge of mistreatment or abuse of either Ricky or Conrad. Though Raul has admitted to administering the beating that led to Ricky’s death, he claims that the death was unintentional and an accident. The jury did not buy their lame excuses. Both were convicted of first-degree murder and the jury recommended the death penalty. They will return to court in June 2009 to be formally sentenced. Washington is currently planning on charging both for the murder of Conrad.

The lives and deaths of Ricky and Conrad Morales is a sad commentary on the current state of Child Protective Services. Two states, California and Washington both failed to protect these children. Even after multiple complaints of abuse and neglect, time after time CPS failed to take appropriate action. The end result – two dead boys. Neither child should have been placed with the Sarinanas. Vanessa Gallardo, the boy’s sister constantly fought to gain custody of her brothers. She loved them and feared for their safety. But she was rebuffed by the system even though she has no criminal record, is a technical school graduate and gainfully employed. She has struggled to set an example for her siblings on how to lead a productive life. Now, she must live with the knowledge that her brothers were tortured and murdered by their own family. She said of the Sarinanas, “they deserve the death penalty. I still think they are getting off easy with the death penalty, the way my brothers were tortured for so long. But to me, they (the Sarinanas) aren’t even family. I don’t feel bad for them."


Juries Recommend Death for Couple in Child Torture Case

April 22, 2009

RIVERSIDE -- Two juries have recommended death for a couple who were convicted of torturing and killing their 11-year-old nephew last month.

The Corona couple has been convicted of first-degree murder for torturing and killing their 11-year-old nephew on Christmas Day 2005.

Separate juries heard the cases against Raul Ricardo Sarinana, 42, and Cathy Lynn Sarinana, 32.

The jury hearing the case against Raul Sarinana arrived at a verdict Tuesday, but Riverside County Superior Court Judge Paul Zellerbach ordered that verdict sealed until the jury hearing evidence in Cathy Sarinana's trial completed its deliberations.

That jury reached its verdict this morning.

In his closing statement, Deputy District Attorney John Aki told jurors that Cathy Sarinana abetted and took an active part in her husband's violent abuse of Ricky Morales and the boy's 14-year-old brother, Conrad.

Aki reminded jurors that Cathy Sarinana was the only one in the Sarinana household who smoked, and an autopsy revealed numerous cigarette burns on Ricky's body, including some on the child's genitals.

"There's some kind of sadistic intimacy when you do that," Aki said. "You're up close. You have to strip the victim's clothes off."

When Ricky was asked by friends how he had received a black eye or bruise, the boy responded that he had been in a fight -- an excuse Cathy Sarinana instructed the child to use, according to Aki.

The woman's lawyer, Patrick Rosetti, admitted the evidence was hard to stomach, but asked jurors to "fight off the emotional part" and concentrate on witnesses' testimony.

Rosetti mentioned two incidents in which the Sarinanas' neighbors saw Raul Sarinana choke and push his wife into a wall.

The attorney argued Raul Sarinana mentally tormented his wife, who went along with whatever her husband wanted to do out of fear for what might happen to the couple's two small children.

According to the prosecution, on Christmas Day 2005, Ricky Morales became ill from internal injuries and was unable to digest a meal Cathy Sarinana made for the family.

She was offended, and Raul Sarinana forced the 11-year-old to clean the bathroom floor as punishment.

Aki said the defendant kicked the child several times because he thought Ricky was not making an effort.

Recalling Raul Sarinana's own words to investigators, Aki said the defendant threw the boy in a bedroom closet, and when Ricky tried to open the closet door, Raul Sarinana stomped him several times.

The child died in the closet and remained there for hours until Cathy Sarinana called 911.

Investigators allege the Sarinanas began abusing Ricky and Conrad within weeks of the boys' arrival at the couple's Randle, Wash., mobile home in late 2004.

During the investigation of Ricky's death, Corona police found Conrad's body encased in a trash can filled with cement outside the defendants' Bell Avenue apartment.

Authorities in Lewis County, Wash., are waiting for the outcome of the Sarinanas' trial in Riverside before a decision is made on whether to prosecute the pair there for Conrad's death.

The older boy was last seen in August 2005, before the Sarinanas relocated to Corona, according to trial testimony.

The brothers were sent to live with Raul and Cathy Sarinana after their mother -- Raul Sarinana's sister -- was jailed in Los Angeles County on felony charges.

Raul Sarinana's attorney, Victor Marshall, told jurors last week that no witness reported actually seeing the boys being abused.

He said his client, jobless and emotionally unbalanced, suffered "extreme stress" and killed Ricky in a fit of anger.


No intent to kill, Raul Sarinana's attorney argues

By Alicia Robinson - The Press-Enterprise

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Raul Ricardo Sarinana's killing of his 11-year-old nephew should be considered second-degree murder because he did not intend to kill, his defense attorney told a jury Thursday.

Attorneys made closing arguments in the murder trial of Sarinana, 42, who is charged with a torture enhancement in the death of Ricky Morales. The boy died in a closet at his uncle's Corona home on Christmas Day 2005 after Sarinana kicked him for not cleaning a bathroom fast enough. Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty.

The defendant's wife, Cathy Lynn Sarinana, also is charged with murder and was included in most of the trial, but she has a separate attorney and jury.

Prosecutors also believe the couple killed Ricky's brother, Conrad, 13, several months earlier when the family lived in rural Washington. Conrad's body was found in the carport at the Corona home. Washington officials have said they plan to prosecute the couple.

In 24 days of an emotional and sometimes graphic trial in Riverside County Superior Court, jurors heard that Ricky and Conrad were sent to live with the Sarinanas because other family members couldn't care for them.

In his closing arguments, Victor Marshall, one of Raul Sarinana's two attorneys, said the boys had a rocky relationship with their mother, and their aunt and uncle at first provided them a happy home.

Marshall described Raul Sarinana as someone who had been abused when he was young and had "an almost childlike mentality." He pointed to testimony that Raul had been prescribed Effexor, a drug that treats depression and anxiety, and that he had trouble controlling his anger.

The family -- which included the Sarinanas' two young children -- was struggling financially, and Raul did everything he could for his wife, Marshall said.

In a journal entry that was shown in court, Conrad wrote about other family members being punished when Cathy Sarinana had a bad day. Marshall suggested Cathy Sarinana was the one in control of the family, the "puppeteer" who pulled her husband's strings.

Marshall said several witnesses, including a Child Protective Services worker who met the family in Washington, saw no signs of abuse on the boys other than injuries from normal accidents or schoolyard fights.

The day after Ricky died, Raul Sarinana called police to say he had hurt and possibly killed the boy while trying to discipline him. Marshall reminded the jury how Raul Sarinana, in a recorded police interview that was shown in court, called his nephew "a good kid" and began to cry.

The beating was severe and unjustified, but "Raul never intended to kill his nephew. That's why he cried," Marshall said. "He's sorry. He did not expect this to happen."

Deputy District Attorney John Aki summed up his rebuttal in one incredulous, rhetorical word: "Really?"

In his initial closing remarks, Aki again showed photos of injuries to Ricky's body. He reminded jurors of a pathologist's testimony that some of the bruises, abrasions, and wounds that looked like cigarette burns and marks made with an electrical cord occurred days or even weeks before the boy's death.

"When he was kicking that little boy and burning that little boy and beating that little boy, that was for discipline?" Aki said. "That is the definition of sadistic."

After the Christmas Day beating, when Raul Sarinana realized the boy could die, Aki said, he chose not to call for help but instead closed the closet door and sat down to a holiday meal.

Aki said the Sarinanas had spun a web of deceit that Raul hoped would culminate in people believing Ricky's death was an accident. Even under police questioning Raul Sarinana never mentioned Conrad, whom he had already killed, until he wanted to make a deal with prosecutors to help Cathy, Aki said.

Before jurors went into deliberations Thursday afternoon, Aki left them with a final image. A picture of Ricky and Conrad playing by a pool was shown, superimposed with a quote from Raul's final police interview: "These kids came along and ruined my life."

If the jury returns a verdict today, the judge likely won't make it public until next week to avoid influencing Cathy Sarinana's jury, which has not begun deliberations.


Pathologist testifies boy suffered repeated injuries

By Alicia Robinson - The Press-Enterprise

Monday, March 16, 2009

A forensic pathologist testified Monday that bruises, lacerations and scars on the body of 11-year-old Ricky Morales showed he suffered repeated injuries, some at least a month before his death on Christmas Day 2005.

Ricky was found dead in a closet at the Corona home of Raul and Cathy Sarinana, his aunt and uncle. The Sarinanas are charged with murder and could face the death penalty if convicted.

Dr. Mark Fajardo, a pathologist for the Riverside County sheriff-coroner's office, testified that some of the hook-shaped scars that jurors saw in photos of Ricky's body were consistent with marks made by a cord, such as an electrical cord.

When he died, the boy had a split upper lip, abrasions on his face and marks under his chin, Fajardo said. There were bruises and scabs on Ricky's torso and lower body, and Fajardo said Ricky had a severe infection on the back of his upper thighs.

"These injuries are of various ages and are in various states of healing," he said. "Some of them are days old, some of them are weeks (old), some of them are well-healed and scarred over."

Deputy District Attorney John Aki has pointed to Ricky's injuries as proof that both Raul and Cathy Sarinana abused their nephew during the months he lived with them.

In recorded interviews with police, Raul admitted he killed Ricky, but said it wasn't intentional. He told police he had tried to discipline the boy, first hitting him with a belt and later kicking him.

Raul also said in the interviews that he killed Ricky's brother, Conrad Morales, 13, shortly before the family moved to Corona from rural Washington. Conrad's body was found encased in concrete in the Sarinanas' carport in Corona.

Aki will likely wrap up his case by midweek. Though the defendants are charged separately and have separate juries sitting in the same courtroom, much of the trial so far has included both Cathy and Raul Sarinana.

Cathy's jury has already gotten a preview of her defense because of some witnesses' time constraints. Jurors on Thursday and Monday heard from Donna Chisam, Cathy's aunt, who testified that Cathy said Raul abused her and she was frightened of him.

Chisam insisted her niece loved children and would not have hit Ricky or Conrad.

Raul's attorneys have said he was under extreme pressure and had anger issues.


Didn't mean to kill, suspect says on tape

The Press-Enterprise

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The day after finding his nephew Ricky dead in a closet, Raul Sarinana told a Corona police detective he killed the boy, but he hadn't meant to.

Sarinana and his wife, Cathy, are charged with murder in the death of 11-year-old Ricky Morales. If convicted, they could face the death penalty.

Police also believe the couple killed Ricky's brother Conrad Morales, 13, in Washington state several months before they moved to Corona in late 2005. The Sarinanas, who have two young children of their own, took Conrad and Ricky in after other relatives couldn't care for the boys.

Attorneys for Raul Sarinana maintain that he has anger problems and was under extreme stress. Cathy Sarinana's attorney contends his client also suffered abuse by Raul.

The Sarinanas' trial is in its third week. Jurors on Tuesday saw a recording of Raul Sarinana's first interview with Corona police after they began investigating Ricky's death.

Early in an interview that lasted almost four hours, Raul Sarinana told Detective Jeff Edwards that Ricky had started out as a good kid. But the boy became disrespectful, Raul said -- he wouldn't obey Cathy, he lied, he wet his bed, he would refuse to eat or would throw up afterward, and he'd cut himself with kitchen knives.

When taking away TV privileges and toys didn't get Ricky to shape up, Raul explained to Edwards, he and Cathy began beating the boy. First they used a belt, and after that wasn't enough, Raul would kick him.

That's what happened on Christmas Day 2005. Ricky had been told to clean the bathroom in the family's one-bedroom apartment, but he wasn't working fast enough for Raul.

In the interview, several times Raul appeared distraught, sobbing and sometimes wiping his eyes as he described realizing Ricky was dead.

Responding to a question from Deputy District Attorney John Aki, Edwards testified that Raul's eyes became moist at one point as he talked about his wife.

But whenever Raul described disciplining Ricky, Edwards said, "I didn't actually see tears."

In the interview, Raul described kicking Ricky in the chest each time he came to check how the cleaning was going, and finally grabbing the boy and putting him in the closet where the family made him sleep.

Raul said he checked on the boy periodically, but he told the holiday guests who came over that day that Ricky had gone to his grandmother's house. Finally he realized Ricky was nearly dead, but rather than call for help, he said he covered the boy with a blanket and pulled a hat down over his face.

Raul said several times that he didn't call police until the next day because he didn't want Cathy to know Ricky was dead. She had cancer and he was afraid of what the stress would do to her, he said.

"I did kill him but I didn't mean to," Raul told Edwards. "There's no reason to kill a kid like that."

During the first portion of the interview, Raul never mentioned Conrad, whose body police found encased in concrete in a trash can at the Sirinana's Corona home.


Corona couple accused of murdering nephew

February 2, 2009

Opening statements got under way Monday in the trial of a Corona couple accused of murdering their 11-year-old nephew.

Ricky Morales was found dead in a closet in the couple's home on Dec. 26, 2005.

Raul Sarinana faces murder and torture charges. His wife Cathy is also charged with murder and child endangerment.

According to court documents, the Sarinanas called 911 to report Ricky's death and told investigators that he had been disciplined after refusing to eat his breakfast.

An autopsy showed the boy died from massive internal injuries. Riverside County deputy medical examiner Dr. Mark Fajardo also found "multiple external traumatic injuries," according to a pretrial brief filed by the prosecution.

"Scars on Ricky's body (were) consistent with being whipped with an electrical cord or similar instrument," the brief states. "Ricky's scrotum was damaged with a penetrating laceration, and his scrotal sac was severely damaged... There were multiple scars to Ricky's scalp, primarily centered on the back of his head.

"Finally, there were multiple circular injuries consistent with cigarette burns located throughout Ricky's body that were determined to be at least several weeks, if not several months, old."

According to the brief, Raul Sarinana told police that on Christmas Day 2005, Ricky was not eating, which his aunt viewed as an insult. Raul Sarinana told investigators he ordered his nephew to clean the bathroom, and when the boy appeared to be going too slow, Sarinana kicked him, court papers state.

Raul Sarinana told police he threw the boy in a bedroom closet as a disciplinary measure, and when the child appeared to be trying to get out, he kicked him again, according to the brief.

The Sarinanas apparently returned to the closet hours later to find their nephew dead.

The day after Ricky's body was found, investigators discovered his older brother's body encased in concrete outside the home. Investigators say 13-year-old Conrad Morales was killed in Washington several months earlier. The couple is being charged for Conrad's murder in Washington.

The judge is allowing a journal kept by Conrad to be used as evidence in the trial. The district attorney says the journal will paint a picture of what home life was like while the kids lived with their aunt and uncle. It reportedly details frustration from the older brother, explaining problems he apparently had with wetting his bed, as well as questions about his own sexuality.

Separate juries will hear evidence for each defendant. As opening statements go forward, the two 12 person juries will have to decide whether there is enough evidence to show that Raul and Cathy Sarinana tortured and murdered their nephew.

The prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for the Sarinanas. In opening statements, the DA said there was prolonged, repeated abuse, which killed the 11-year-old.

The defense says Raul Sarinanas was going through a lot of problems and was on medication, and in no way meant for the child to die.


Second body found

December 29, 2005

Detectives suspect that a second body found in the carport of their duplex was the boy's missing 13-year-old brother, officials said. Relatives Wednesday identified the brother as Conrad Morales.

On Oct. 8, Cathy Sarinana had reported a 13-year-old runaway child to the Lewis County, Wash., Sheriff's Department, officials said. She was living in a Winlock, Wash., trailer park at the time.

Police have requested dental records for the older boy, whom officials did not identify, and two Corona police investigators flew to Washington on Wednesday afternoon to continue their investigation.

Raul Sarinana had been taking care of the two boys for his older sister, Rosa Morales, after she was sent to prison, according to a relative from El Monte and police officials.

"They were good little boys who just wanted attention," said the relative, who asked not to be identified because she said she feared retaliation from other family members. "We're in shock. We're trying to put it all together."

The relative, who took care of the boys for almost a year, said they had been bouncing from relative to relative for at least five years. Morales also has two older daughters, who are being cared for by other relatives, she said.

The sisters were among about a dozen weeping relatives and friends of the boys who gathered at the La Puente home of another of the boys' aunts late Wednesday, but were too emotional to speak. The family had set up a memorial to the boys consisting of candles and photographs depicting Conrad and Ricky as babies, and as young children in Halloween costumes.

The boys had grown up in La Puente and West Covina, relatives said.

Rosa's sister Bertha Cevallos, 43, said Conrad had gone to live with the Sarinanas about a year and a half ago, and Ricky joined him about six months later. Their mother, Cevallos said, was concerned about them living in Southern California through their rebellious teenage years and thought they would be less likely to get into trouble in Washington state.

Raul Sarinana and his wife sent back reports saying the boys were doing well in school and were involved in numerous activities, the family said.

Some family members worried that Conrad and Ricky seemed unhappy, and that their phone calls had a rote, practiced tone as if they were reading from a script. But they chalked this up to shyness, and did not suspect they were in danger, said Martin Cevallos, 22, of Downey, cousin to Conrad and Ricky.

He said he knew Raul Sarinana from childhood, and called him a favorite uncle. "The thought never crossed my mind that he would hurt them."

Once, a sister had requested that police make a welfare check on the boys in Washington, but never heard back, he said. The last time any of the relatives talked to Ricky was on Christmas, they said, when he told them that he missed his mother and wanted to come home.

On Wednesday, the couple's arraignment was postponed to Jan. 5 at a hearing in Riverside County Superior Court that lasted less than a minute. The pair are being held without bail at Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside.

Charges have not been filed in connection with the second body; officials said the death may have occurred in Washington. The child protection agency in Lewis County confirmed that it had been asked to assist the investigation.

The cause of Ricky Morales' death might be determined by an autopsy to be performed today; the second boy's autopsy is scheduled Friday.

A relative tipped off police later that day that there had been another boy living with the Sarinanas, said Corona police Sgt. Jerry Rodriguez. Police contacted the Lewis County Sheriff's Department on Tuesday and returned to the residential neighborhood to search again.

Using X-ray equipment, they discovered the second boy's remains in the carport. Neighbors said they saw teams break concrete with jackhammers and roll out several green metal barrels.



Arrests Made In Death Of 11-Year-Old Boy

Los Angeles Times

December 28, 2005

A man and his wife were in custody Tuesday as police investigated the suspected child-abuse slaying of their 11-year-old nephew and came across the remains of a second, more deteriorated body at the couple's home.

Raul Ricardo Sarinana, 38, was arrested after calling police just before 2 p.m. Monday. He told police that "he had hurt the boy, and that the boy may be dead," Corona police Sgt. Jerry Rodriguez said.

Officers found the boy's battered body inside the couple's duplex unit at 1110 S. Belle Ave. He had suffered blunt trauma injuries and had been dead perhaps "a day or two at most," said Corona police Sgt. Neil Reynolds. The boy's name was not released.

Sarinana and his wife, Cathy Lynn Sarinana, 28, were arrested on suspicion of murder. Their two children, a 2-year-old girl and a 13-month-old boy, were put in protective custody.

After questioning the pair, police returned for an additional search of the duplex Tuesday and found the second set of remains concealed in the carport just after 3 p.m. They brought in crews to rip up concrete with jackhammers shortly afterward, neighbors said.

The remains appeared to be those of a person whose death occurred well before that of the 11-year-old boy, police said. They are believed to be those of a "small person," Rodriguez said. He did not disclose, however, whether they were those of a child. Nor did he give a probable gender. Examiners will have to use dental records to identify the body, he said, adding that investigators have some leads on an identity, though he did not elaborate.

As of Tuesday, investigators planned to seek homicide charges against the couple, Reynolds said. Sarinana was being booked at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside late Tuesday. His wife, who had been taken into custody at the Corona police jail, is expected to be transferred to Presley, police said.

Rodriguez said the Sarinanas had been taking care of their nephew for at least a year. The boy's mother, a Los Angeles County resident, had served time in prison and recently completed parole, authorities said.

As neighbors and media circled the crime scene Tuesday, the smell of the decaying corpse permeated the neighborhood. Neighbors gathered in the twinkling glow of Christmas lights and speculated about the Sarinanas, a family that had moved in just months ago. Parents questioned the neighborhood children who had played with the boy before his death.

The Sarinanas, who had two young children of their own, generally kept to themselves. After moving in a few months ago, they had a yard sale and a party with a bounce house for the kids.

"We got to play in the bounce house. I think it was the boy's birthday," said 10-year-old Carlos Maldolda.

"He was a kind of sad kid. Sometimes he had bruises on his arms, but we never said anything about it."

The boy had been living at the home with the couple and their two children, a 2-year-old and a 13-month-old, for about three months, Rodriguez said.

The two young children were removed from the home and taken into protective custody, he said.

At this point, police do not know much about the boy's biological parents or how he ended up living with his aunt and uncle.



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