Suspects in Merced County homicide who had fled to Mexico now in custody, investigators say

Local News

Photos of Dominick Jeffery Rufo and Brandy Bettencourt provided by the Merced County Sheriff’s Office

FRESNO, Calif. (KSEE/KGPE) — Deputies from the Merced County Sheriff’s office announced on Tuesday that after a 3-month investigation, two people wanted on suspicion of the shooting death of Jasper Gray were apprehended.

Dominick Jeffery Rufo, 29, and Brandy Bettencourt, 32, were taken into custody Monday around 3:30 p.m. and are en route to Merced County Jail where they will be booked on homicide charges.

Deputies say they determined that Rufo and Bettencourt had left the US after the shooting for Baja California, Mexico. Investigators worked with US Marshals teams and Mexican law enforcement to locate Rufo and Bettencourt.

On Sept. 19, deputies were called out to the Hot Rod’s Diner near Lander Avenue and First Street in Merced County for a report of a shooting. When deputies arrived, they say they found Gray had already passed away from a gunshot wound. Deputies say the diner was crowded at the time of the shooting.

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