November 12, 1997 in Nation/World

Police Name Suspect In Murder Drifter Sought In Slaying Of Mother Of Quadruplets

Mike Schneider Associated Press
 

A Texas drifter was charged with murder Tuesday in the shooting death of a mother whose body was found in a pool of blood with her young quadruplets nearby.

Police in Florida named 21-year-old Jose Luis Del Toro Jr. in an arrest warrant and asked police in Texas, where they believed he was hiding Tuesday, for help in apprehending him.

Police said they found Del Toro’s fingerprints on a clothes dryer in Sheila Bellush’s home and said the gun used to kill her and handwritten directions to her home were found in his car, which was discovered in Texas.

Bellush, 35, was killed at her home on Friday. Her body was found by her 13-year-old daughter, Stevie, with her 23-month old quadruplets unharmed but covered in blood.

Officials said she apparently confronted the suspect as he came into the laundry room from the garage. He apparently entered the house through the garage door, which was opened, then shot and killed Bellush.

Police said they recovered the bullet that killed Bellush and its casing from her house.

Del Toro was seen in Bellush’s neighborhood the day of the killing wearing camouflage clothing. He checked into a nearby motel the day before the slaying, said Sheriff Geoff Monge.

Authorities also say he matches a composite sketch of a young man who had asked directions at a gas station to the street where Bellush lived.

Tips led police to check the license plate number of a car registered to Del Toro spotted near Bellush’s home.

Police also said they discovered the clothing Del Toro was allegedly wearing during the slaying, as well as keys, a towel and other items from the motel room in his car, Monge said.

A round of 45.-caliber ammunition was found in his motel room.

Del Toro’s last known address was La Pryor, Texas, and authorities believed Tuesday he was in the Austin area.

Police here released the suspect’s photograph and said he is a drifter known to stay in Austin and San Antonio.


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