VICTORVILLE, Calif. (VVNG.com) — July 10, 2019– Months after a 6-year-old boy with Autism, identified as Duke Flores, went missing and was presumed murdered, disturbing testimony revealed just how he was killed at the hands of his mother and aunt.
In court Wednesday, a San Bernardino County Sheriff’s homicide detective, Narcie Sousa, revealed the graphic details during a preliminary hearing.
It was late April when deputies from the Apple Valley Sheriff’s Department were first made aware of the missing boy after extended family members grew suspicious after not seeing him for nearly two weeks.
Authorities arrived at the residence where he lived on the 22000 block of Cherokee Avenue in Apple Valley on April 25 to interview the 29-year-old twins, Jackee Contreras (Duke’s mother) and Jennifer Contreras (Duke’s aunt).
During the investigation, deputies learned the boy had been missing since April 14th, but no one in the household had filed a report.
Duke’s mother was promptly arrested that night on suspicion of murder, followed by the aunt a few days later.
Up until Wednesday, the public was only given vague details as to why detectives suspected the boy was dumped in a trash bin.
But those details were brought to light when Detective Sousa recalled Jackee’s confession.
Jackee told Sousa that she and her twin sister were hanging clothes in the backyard on April 14th. They heard a scream in the garage and found Duke smothering Jennifer’s 9-month old daughter with a pillow.
It was at that time that Jackee recalled her sister saying, “I’ve got to kill him.”
That’s when Jackee said Jennifer went outside with the boy and returned moments later. But not saying what occurred during those minutes.
Jackee told Detective Sousa that Duke was positioned between them both when Jennifer placed a plastic over little Duke’s head and then wrapped a power cord around his neck.
Sousa said Jackee tied a second cord around Duke’s hands and then Jennifer strangled him.
Duke’s lifeless body was placed inside a blanket then a bag before being buried in the backyard of the home.
7 days later, on Easter Sunday, the mother and aunt proceeded to find a new place to hide Duke since the family pit bulls were bothering the makeshift gravesite.
Jackee and Jennifer walked the streets late Easter Sunday after unburying Duke, looking for an unlocked trash bin to get rid of the body, which was being pulled around the neighborhood in a wagon.
Jennifer’s two young children were also with the women as they placed him in a dumpster three blocks south of their home.
Video surveillance gathered from a house in area showed two adults emerging from a house with a stroller and a wagon.
Detectives said that someone used Duke’s iPad to search for trash pickup times for the area. In fact, there were close to 100 searches.
For many weeks, numerous Homicide Detectives, deputies throughout the department, Sheriff’s Department volunteers, K-9 Units, Coroner Investigators, District Attorney Investigators, and personnel from the landfill dedicated 8 weeks to the search, hoping to find his body.
“The search at the Victorville Landfill began on April 29 and continued until June 21; the recovery effort ended with no remains found, the department confirmed.
“This is not the outcome we had hoped for, “Sheriff John McMahon added “but we knew going into this search that there was a chance we would not locate Duke. I am extremely proud of the dedication shown by every person who continued to show up day after day, desperately hoping to locate the young boy.”
Both sisters are due back in court on July 17.
The investigation is ongoing, and anyone who may have information regarding this investigation is urged to contact the Specialized Investigations Division, Detective Narcie Sousa at (909) 387-3589or Sheriff’s dispatch at (909) 387-8313. Callers can remain anonymous and contact WeTip at 1-800-78CRIME (27463) or www.wetip.com