BY RACHEL COOK Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Pablo Medrano said he dug about 5 feet when his shovel hit the legs of a body.
Last week, Medrano described for police how he helped Frank Jude Valles unearth a decomposing corpse wrapped in a blanket and bury the body at a new location, according to police reports filed in Kern County Superior Court. The reports offered new details about the disappearance of Alphonso John Hyde and what led police to Valles, his suspected killer.
Valles faces one first-degree murder charge and police have a warrant for Argelio Salinas on suspicion of unlawful disposal of a human body, conspiracy to commit a crime and accessory. A probable clause declaration said Valles estimated he garnered $600,000 by cashing in Hyde's monthly Indian Tribal Reservation checks.
Suspected human bones were found at a Grass Creek Drive address and more remains including bones, flesh and hair were found at a yard on Curnow Road, the police reports said. Police announced that the major portion of the suspected human remains were removed from the Curnow Road site Wednesday. An autopsy is set for Friday at the Kern County coroner's office.
The police reports' account of the case begins with Hyde's relatives reporting him missing about four years after they last heard from him.
Hyde's sister Wahnona Rubio and sister-in-law Katherine Lugo went to the downtown police station Aug. 9 and said they last heard from Hyde in 2008. They had tried to reach him by phone several times since but could only get a hold of Valles, who told them he'd tell Hyde to call them back. Their last contact with Valles was in June 2011, reports said.
The women said Valles had power of attorney over Hyde and they believed the two men met while incarcerated. An officer asked Hyde's relatives why they waited to report him missing but they couldn't give "a clear answer," the police report said.
Less than a week after Hyde was reported missing, Consuelo Valles, Frank Valles' estranged wife, contacted police on Aug. 14.
That day and in another interview, Consuelo told police she was divorcing Valles, her husband of about nine years. Consuelo said she and Valles lived at 5908 Grass Creek Drive but their marriage faltered because Valles was verbally abusive and secretive. Consuelo also learned he was having affairs.
Consuelo reportedly said Valles received money from a man she knew as "John Hyde" and that both men were American Indian. She said Valles convinced Hyde that his wife was stealing his money and Valles took control of Hyde's money sometime during 2005 and 2006.
Valles told Consuelo to mind her own business when she asked about documents and checks that belonged to Hyde, Consuelo said. She said Valles told her that Hyde moved to New Mexico with a girlfriend, but Consuelo said she didn't believe that story. She eventually left Valles and moved to anther home.
As Consuelo kept learning about affairs, she put a digital recorder on top of a kitchen cabinet at the Grass Creek home in July. She said the device picked up a conversation between Valles and Medrano, their gardner, in which Valles offered Medrano $3,000 and then $500 a month to help him move "John's" body and Medrano agreed. Consuelo said the recorder also caught a conversation where Valles mentioned having someone kill her.
The reports showed inconsistent accounts of when Consuelo contacted Hyde's relatives with the strange news. When Consuelo first spoke with police, she said she contacted Rubio and Lugo about "22 days ago" by phone and that they came to Bakersfield. She said she played the recordings for them and they told her they would report the incident to police.
Consuelo said she gave them the recorder but that she thought the recording of Valles and Medrano's conversation was erased.
In another police interview, Consuelo said she panicked, called Hyde's sister and gave away the recording "several months ago."
Following Consuelo's first conversation with police, officers went to the Grass Creek home where they spotted dirt, broken concrete and bags of horse manure. Valles came home while officers were there and when they approached him, he "spontaneously said he did not have anything to hide," according to the reports. He welcomed them to search the residence.
On Aug. 15, police interviewed Medrano. He said he had known Valles for about a year and sometime in June, Valles asked him what he would do if he knew a child molester. Medrano said he would probably "cut his testicles" and Valles said that is what he would do.
Several days later, Valles told Medrano, "'I killed him. I killed my brother and buried him in my yard. I need your help."'
Medrano told police that at about 1 p.m. on a July afternoon, he was doing Valles' yard when Valles offered him money to dig up the body.
Medrano said a "foul odor" came from the hole and the body as they dug. He said he saw that the skull was still on the body and flesh was still attached as well.
Medrano and Valles went to Home Depot and bought bags of manure to cover the smell of the body, the police reports said. They loaded the body in the bed of Valles' pickup and drove it to his ranch, where a 6-foot hole was already prepared.
They buried the body but Valles paid Medrano only $1,000 and refused to give him any more, reports said.