The body of a woman was found in a burned-out vehicle and another woman was found tied to a bed at a home in the Rancho San Vicente subdivision between Cleveland and Plum Grove around 6 p.m. Saturday. Authorities are searching for a Hispanic male they believe is related to the case.
According to Capt. Ken DeFoor, a spokesperson for the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office, initial information suggests that the deceased woman was trying to flee a house at 61 CR 3415 when she allegedly crashed her car and it caught on fire.
“We don’t know if she died as the result of some injury that happened before the fire or if she was killed by the fire,” DeFoor said.
Inside the home, authorities found the injured and restrained woman who made a frantic 911 call to report that she believed her friend was dead. According to DeFoor, the restrained woman’s injuries are not life-threatening.
As of 10 p.m., law enforcement agencies are searching for the Hispanic male, identified as 69-year-old Jose Marin Soriano, who fled the scene in a gray Ford pickup truck. DeFoor said investigators are still working on more identifying information that can be released to the public.
“He is considered to be armed and dangerous. We are considering this a public safety issue,” DeFoor said.
Lead Sheriff’s Investigators Sean Mitchell and Ann Marie Mitchell began piecing the information together in the very early stages of the investigation after interviewing the female who had been chained to a bed.
According to preliminary information, it appears that both women worked at cleaning houses for Soriano who lives at the residence on CR 3415.
It is reported that Soriano had some revealing photos of the deceased female and he had told the victim that he would delete the photos if she would meet him at his home this evening. It is unknown if Soriano took the photos or if the deceased sent the photos to him at some point, DeFoor said.
“When the two women arrived at the home of Soriano, he allegedly pulled a gun and sexually assaulted the female chained to the bed. Evidently in an attempt to escape the house, the deceased female got into her vehicle and attempted to back out of the yard but the car crashed into the woods across the street from Soriano’s home. For some unknown reason the vehicle caught fire and the female was badly burned, DeFoor said. “However, investigators said an obvious gunshot wound was found when the woman was later examined. It appears that in Soriano’s haste to stop the woman from leaving in her car, he left his cell phone in the house and it was his cell phone the rape victim used to call the Sheriff’s dispatcher.”
Investigators are asking anyone with information on the whereabouts of Soriano to contact the Liberty County Sheriff’s Office at 936-336-4500 or the Multi-County Crime Stoppers at 1-800-392 STOP (7867). Anyone providing a Crime Stopper “tip” leading to the arrest of Soriano may be eligible for a cash reward and their identity will remain anonymous.