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Family killed on turnpike sought new life in Florida

Sun., Oct. 15, 2006

FORT PIERCE, Fla. – As their family tells it, Yessica Guerrero Escobedo and Jose Luis Escobedo were high school sweethearts who fell in love and married. Recently, they packed up their two children and left their Texas hometown, headed for Florida where they hoped to find a new life.

On Saturday, authorities were trying to figure out how they were fatally shot along Florida’s Turnpike in Port St. Lucie, about 100 miles north of Miami. The body of Yessica Guerrero Escobedo, 25, was found Friday clutching her two sons in an apparent effort to protect them. Her husband, who was to turn 29 on Saturday, was found nearby.

Lisa Salazar, a relative in Brownsville, Texas, said the couple, married for three years, didn’t have any enemies.

Investigators were watching 480 hours of surveillance tapes from toll booths along the turnpike hoping to spot any clues to lead to the suspects. Bullets found at the scene also were being analyzed to see if the same kind had been used in any other crimes.

Investigators believe their vehicle, a 1998 four-door Jeep Cherokee, had pulled to the side of highway before someone else in the vehicle shot them and drove away sometime between 1:30 and 3 a.m. Authorities were searching for the vehicle Saturday, Sheriff Ken Mascara said.

A motive for the shootings was not yet known. Authorities said the victims and the shooter may have known each other, and investigators were not approaching the crime as a carjacking.

A search warrant was issued for the family’s home in Greenacres in Palm Beach County, where the family had moved in June from the Brownsville, Texas, area.

Mascara said Friday the mother and father suffered multiple gunshot wounds. Formal autopsy results were not expected until Monday, according to the medical examiner’s office.


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