Second suspect arrested in Sammy Mercado murder case

Sammy Mercado murder suspect Michael Voravong (left) and bother Marshall Voravong (right) who is still at large. (Fresno County Sheriff's Office)
October 23, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A new arrest has been made in connection with the death of a teenager. Fresno County Sheriff's investigators have arrested another suspect in the murder of 16-year-old Sammy Mercado, but they want your help to find his brother.

Undercover detectives staked out a home in Southeast Fresno this past weekend, until Michael Voravong emerged. They moved in and arrested the 29 year old without any problems. But, his younger brother, Marshall, wasn't there.

Chris Curtice with the Fresno County Sheriff's Office said, "We don't know if he's here or has left so, we're hoping that he's still here. And anybody who knows where he's at will give us a call."

Neighbors say the brothers often worked on cars in the front yard. Tuesday no one at the home on White Avenue wanted to comment.

Sheriff's deputies won't say how the Voravong's became acquainted with the other suspect in the case, Ernie Chanmany.

"Detectives are working that aspect of it," Curtice said. "I think they have an idea on how things went down in Mr. Mercado's death, it's not something we're going to release right now."

Chanmany was arrested in Utah earlier this month in a marijuana bust. Late Friday, he was extradited to Fresno. Action News has learned he led detectives to the location in Fresno County where a body, believed to be Mercado's was buried in an Orange Grove.

It's unclear whether Chanmany also told detectives who else was involved in the crime. Sheriff's officials are not being specific about how the Voravongs became suspects.

Curtice said, "We had developed information after the arrest of Ernie Chanmany that led to more tips coming in and the possibility that Mr. Voravong was at a residence on east White in the city of Fresno."

The wanted suspect, Marshall Voravong was charged with two counts of attempted murder in 2001 and two additional counts of assault with a semiautomatic weapon.

Michael Voravong was charged that same year with assault with a deadly weapon causing great bodily injury. He was also convicted in 2004 of possession, sale or manufacture of a dangerous weapon. In 2006, he went on to be convicted of felony auto theft. Investigators say all three murder suspects are dangerous, with bold backgrounds.

Late Tuesday, Ernie Chanmany was charged with accessory to murder, after the fact. He will be arraigned on those charges Wednesday.

Michael Voravong will face a judge to answer to murder Wednesday, as well.

Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Marshall Voravong, or this case, is asked to contact the Fresno County Sheriff's Office at 488-3111.


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