Deputies arrest 3rd suspect in Valley farmer's murder

Authorities say they have arrested a third suspect in connection with the murder of a Valley farmer. (KFSN)
May 9, 2014 12:00:00 AM PDT
A third arrest in the murder of a prominent Valley grower was made in the Calwa area late Friday. A total of three people are now under arrest after investigators say George Salwasser, Jr., 38, was shot and killed when he confronted the three suspects as they stripped a stolen truck on his property.

Fresno County Sheriff's detectives say Adrian Aceves, 23, Fabian Mansanalez, 25, and his sister Maria Mansanalez, 24, were involved in the murder of a respected father of four.

For the second day detectives canvassed a huge area of Ag land northeast of Kerman. They're still searching for the gun used to murder Salwasser, Jr.

"These type of people need to be put away forever," said Manuel Cunha from the Nisei Farmers League. He's known the Salwasser family for decades and says its generations of farmers, including George, have left a huge impact on the Valley.

Cunha knew George from various Ag events, including seminars on preventing Ag-crime.

"This is why we've got to put these people away," he said. "And they cannot be released from jail. If there's 10 people in the jail cell, that's just the way it's going to have to be."

Investigators arrested two of the three suspects after discovering them hiding in a canal about two miles from the murder scene. The third suspect is also in custody. He was arrested after spending the night on the run.

Sheriff Margaret Mims says all three will be charged with murder.

Grape grower David Hernandez spotted the suspects as they were trying to get away. "I heard the guy ask the girl 'where did you put the gun?' and she responded, 'it's still in the car,' and they crashed over there," he said.

Investigators say Salwasser spotted the suspects on his property and went to confront them. "He was coming up on the scene, as he was calling 911, that's when he was murdered," Sheriff Mims said.

Mims thanked several of Salwasser's neighbors for being incredibly helpful witnesses. She says without those witnesses, tracking down the suspects would have been extremely difficult.

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