An intensely brutal scene occurred in the middle of a San Carlos street on Thursday morning in which a man, possibly a former boyfriend with a restraining order against him, allegedly beheaded a young mother of two with a sword.
Initial details from law enforcement in San Mateo County suggested there had been an "assault" that was fatal, and that a woman was attacked with a "stabbing instrument." The suspect reportedly reappeared at the scene when sheriff's deputies arrived, and was quickly taken into custody, and now we are getting a few more details about this heinous murder.
The incident happened around 11:50 a.m. Thursday in the area of Laurel Street and Magnolia Avenue in San Carlos.
ABC 7 reported Thursday via unnamed law enforcement sources — and a written account by officers — that the suspect and the 25-year-old victim were in an "ongoing relationship," but also that the victim had taken out a restraining order against the suspect in April. There was also reportedly a history of domestic violence incidents at the victim's home.
Bay Area News Group describes the suspect as an "estranged ex-boyfriend."
The victim's two children were reportedly nearby in the home when the beheading occurred, but did not witness it as had been initially reported — and county child protective services officers came to remove the children, ages 7 and 1.
KRON4 may have been the first to report that the weapon used was a sword, and the weapon was reportedly "still outstanding" as of late Thursday.
By Friday morning, the Chronicle reported that the suspect is 33-year-old Jose Rafael Solano Landaeta, who has previously lived in Hayward. He was given a tentative initial court date of today at 1:30 p.m. to face murder charges in San Mateo County.
Lieutenant Eamon Allen of the San Mateo County Sheriff's Office gave a press conference Thursday describing the outlines of the crime, but did not mention the sword or the beheading. Lt. Allen said that deputies "arrived within minutes and found an obviously deceased female in the street in that area," in front of the victim's home.
A neighbor of the victim, Chapel Thorborne, told ABC 7 that he saw the scene after the beheading and, "The head was laying underneath the car and she was laying in back of the car, just severed, and they covered her up."
As Bay Area News Group reports, Lt. Allen told members of the media, "As far as the shocking nature of it, I do know that the deputies that first arrived on scene were a little beset by the scene." Allen added, "We are providing them peer support. We’re also providing support for the witnesses that were on scene as well."
There was a report that the suspect had a "medical emergency" when being taken into custody, and per the Chronicle, Landaeta "began yelling and vomiting as police placed him into custody."
Lt. Allen confirmed that he "believed" the sheriff's department had had "prior contacts" with Landaeta.
We'll update you when the victim's name is made available, or if there are any further details following Landaeta's court appearance.
Anyone with information about the case can contact sheriff’s Detective David Brandt at 650-323-8195.
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