Sheriff: Detectives talking with murder suspect

October 19, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
Action News has learned Fresno County Sheriff's detectives are talking with the Fresno man wanted in the death investigation of Sammy Mercado. The 16-year-old has been missing since April.

Fresno County Sheriff's detectives believe he was killed, but they have not yet found his body. Investigators say 21-year-old Ernie Chanmany shot and killed Mercado. Chanmany was recently arrested in Utah on unrelated drug charges.

Sheriff Margaret Mims told Action News her detectives are hoping to learn more from Chanmany about what happened to Mercado. She also said they are still looking for additional suspects.

One of Mercado's relatives told Action News the family is hoping to find Mercado's remains to finally have some closure.

Investigators said this man just might have the information everyone is waiting for. Since Chanmany was arrested in rural central Utah, Fresno County detectives have been talking with him. "Detectives have been talking with him," said Sheriff Mims over the phone. "However, I can't say, at this point, what information we've received."

Chanmany was arrested on October 6th during a Utah Highway Patrol drug enforcement operation in Sevier County, Utah. They said he was found with 110 pounds of marijuana. UHP said Chanmany was taking the drugs from Fresno to northern Colorado.

In May Mims announced Chanmany as a murder suspect. Investigators say Chanmany shot Sammy Mercado at Fresno County pot grow site. Mercado and two friends were on the property trying to steal marijuana. Mercado was the only one who did not make it safely out of the pot field.

"We will continue our investigation into the disappearance of Sammy Mercado, the circumstances surrounding his death and where his body may be," the sheriff said.

Since detectives have not yet tracked down Mercado's body they are being careful about the information they make public.

Stay with Action News and ABC30.com for developments.


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