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Gridley Herald - Gridley, CA
  • Munoz details emerge from trunk

  • The timeline of Friday's tragic events in Ridgecrest that ended with the deaths of two people — one a father — and injured three others is starting to come together.
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  • The timeline of Friday's tragic events in Ridgecrest that ended with the deaths of two people — one a father — and injured three others is starting to come together.
    According to Ridgecrest Police Department Sgt. Jed McLaughlin, the names of the kidnap victims in the trunk of Sergio Munoz's car are not yet available. But there are now details about how the two got in the trunk.
    McLaughlin said Tuesday that about 4 a.m. on Friday — an hour before the shooting of Thaddeus Meier and Brittany Matheny in the 500 block of Atkins Street — Munoz called the female kidnap victim to come to his home on Beth Lane and pick Munoz up for an unknown reason.
    McLaughlin said it is still unclear why and when the male kidnap victim showed up at Munoz's house.
    According to McLaughlin, the victims said Munoz injected himself with an as yet unknown substance and then "went crazy." An autopsy is being performed today to determine Munoz's cause of death and what substances he may have been under the influence of.
    Munoz pulled a gun out and forced the male victim to his knees and told him to put his hands behind his head. Munoz then forced the male victim into the trunk of his car and told the female victim to drive to 521 Atkins St.
    Once they arrived, Munoz forced the female victim into the trunk. The victims in the trunk said they heard gun fire and Munoz returned to the vehicle. He told the couple in the trunk that he had shot Meier and Matheny.
    Munoz then drove around the city, calling an RPD officer, McLaughlin said.
    "We didn't know what his intent was at that point," McLaughlin said.
    Munoz was finally spotted by Kern County Sheriff Deputies and the high speed pursuit began.
    During the pursuit, the kidnap victims were able to open the trunk. McLaughlin said that, according to testimony of the victims, they were trying to warn police that Munoz was armed.
    Munoz would race around firing shots randomly on Upjohn Avenue, at a female driver near Walmart and in the 700 block of South China Lake Boulevard near AltaOne Credit Union.
    Munoz was a convicted felon who had been arrested on Oct. 20 for possession of ammunition. McLaughlin said Munoz and others in the vicinity of Atkins had been questioned and searched in connection with an area burglary.
    It is unsure whether Munoz was connected with the burglary.

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