11/12/2003 12:02 am
Hampered by few leads and relying on a 3-year-old eyewitness, Carson City sheriff?s deputies continued searching Tuesday for a 33-year-old mother whose young son said he saw three men kill her before he was shoved out of a car in Dayton, 15 miles from home.
Bertha Anguiano?s 3-year-old son was found bleeding from a head wound about 9:30 a.m. Monday in front of Smith?s supermarket in Dayton, said Carson City Sheriff Kenny Furlong.
?He said he was pushed out of a vehicle and that he saw someone kill her. We have no verification of that, and right now we?re treating this as a missing person believed to be in danger under suspicious circumstances,? Furlong said.
He said the boy told investigators that he and his mother were taken to Dayton by three men.
The boy said he had been hit on the head with an unknown object. He was treated by emergency medics at the store, Furlong said.
Furlong said Anguiano?s husband was cooperative, and that his time and activities have been accounted for at his workplace.
?Their relationship appears to be stable, but there have been some statements made that we?re looking into,? he said.
Furlong would not elaborate, but said the husband is not a suspect.
Anguiano?s brown 1992 Ford Tempo was found at Empire Elementary School, a few blocks from the store Monday afternoon. There were no car problems, Furlong said.
The 3-year-old told police he and his mother had dropped off one of her three sons at school between 8 a.m. and 8:30 a.m. An older son had stayed home sick, Furlong said.
Anguiano?s purse and keys were not found with her car.
?It appears she got out of the car of her own choosing. Nothing is out of the norm until she did not open her business,? he said.
?We basically have only one witness, because nobody saw anything at the school or Smith?s,? he said.
A robbery at a market in the same shopping center the prior week does not appear to be related, Furlong said.
?We?ve followed leads on that, but we don?t see a strong connection to this incident other than the location,? Furlong said.
The child was interviewed Tuesday by a psychologist to piece together details of the incident, he said, but very little new information came out.
The boy is expected to be interviewed again today, he said.
?We?re holding on to some of it so we don?t jeopardize the investigation, but we are barely creeping forward,? he said.
?One of the problems we?re having is that we?re taking a 3-year-old?s statement and applying adult standards to it. The boy said it was a big truck, but to a 3-year-old, that could be a little Toyota,? he said.
?Trying to find a motive is the thrust of this investigation,? he said.
Furlong said Anguiano, who owns her own video store at the corner of Edmonds and Desatoya drives, did not open the shop Monday morning. The boy typically stays at the store with his mother during the day.
Furlong said several members of his investigative team spent Tuesday going through documents at the video store -- such as financial and phone records -- to find names of people to interview.
?We have interviewed many, many people,? he said.
Lyon County Sheriff?s Capt. Jeff Page said the report from Smith?s employees initially came in as a traffic accident, but after talking to the boy, they became concerned.
Smith?s employees declined to comment.
?Based on information from the child, it appeared that there had been some major criminal activity,? Page said.
The boy was able to give his full name, so police took him to Dayton Elementary School but could find no one there with the same last name, Page said.
Lyon County detectives then contacted the state?s Department of Public Safety. Investigators there traced the child through his brothers? attendance at Empire Elementary School in Carson City, Furlong said.
The boy was returned to his father Monday, Furlong said, adding that the child was in good mental and physical shape.
?He?s just a bundle of energy. He?s very intelligent and very articulate,? he said.
Furlong asked anyone with information to contact investigators at 887-2008.
Bertha Anguiano, 33
5 feet tall
Dark brown hair