Exclusive details on Fresno teens disappearance and murder

July 5, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Action News has uncovered new details in the 2009 disappearance of a 15-year-old Fresno boy, and the discovery of his body this year.

Police dug up Steven Humphrey's body in April and a new public search warrant outlines how they knew where to find him.

This case may be four years old, but details of the investigation are just trickling in, partly because of threats, fears, and possible gang involvement. In a warrant the police make it very clear, they believe they know who did it, and he is a man very familiar with Humphrey's family.

Steven Humphrey's family members thank neighbors for their support in a sign draping the chain link fence at the home where the teenager once lived. Four years after Steven disappeared, police dug up his body in a neighbor's yard April. The family laid him to rest last week. But closure still hasn't come.

"It's a little relief but I wish it wasn't like this, you know," said Steven's sister, Jessica Humphrey, at the funeral.

A search warrant shows police may be close to giving them closure. It details the investigation into Ricardo Rosas, a neighbor who once dated Steven's sister. He was convicted of domestic violence against her three months before Steven disappeared, and the family says they always believed he was responsible.

The warrant that allowed police to dig in the backyard of Rosas' family says several people have stepped forward to say he confessed to the crime and talked about digging the grave. But months later, Rosas has not been charged with Steven's murder.

Action News legal analyst Tony Capozzi says there is no rush.

"This is a murder case and there is no statute of limitations on murder cases," Capozzi said. "The DA can bring charges five years from today or 10 years from today."

In the warrant, police say Rosas told acquaintances he had help burying Steven's body. They say Rosas said he slept next to the dead body and cried about what he had done. And, he said, he killed under orders from the Mexican Mafia, which could come up in a murder trial.

"Kinds of defense were that it's duress, that he was threatened to be killed if he didn't follow through with this," Capozzi said. "It'd be a diminished capacity defense. There are things that can be brought up, but it's a very strong case for the people."

Rosas is in prison after another domestic violence conviction. Police tell Action News they are waiting for an anthropologist's review of Steven's body before they name a suspect and file charges.


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