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Three teens arrested in Yoakum shooting death

By Sonny Long
Oct. 2, 2009 at 5:02 a.m.
Updated Oct. 4, 2009 at 5:04 a.m.

A sign in the window of Cervantes Restaurant in Yoakum informs patrons of the business being closed and thanks them for their support. Restaurant owner Raul Cervantes is the son of Teodora Cervantes who was shot and killed Sunday. Three arrests were made Friday in connection with the shooting. A fourth suspect is being sought.

YOAKUM - Three teenagers face capital murder charges and a fourth person is sought in connection with the shooting death of a 70-year-old Yoakum man on Sunday.

Arrested Friday morning were Jacob Reynosa, 19, Hugo Ibarra, 18, and a 16-year-old boy, all of Yoakum. A fourth warrant has been issued in the case, said Yoakum Police Chief Arthur Rogers.

The arrests were made in connection with the shooting death of Teodoro Cervantes in his Hubbard Street home.

Rogers said at this point in the investigation it appears that robbery was the motive and the victim was selected at random.

"It was basic good police work," Rogers said of the arrests less than a week after the shooting. "It was a culmination of information from citizens and leads developed by investigator Lee Campbell. With the help of the Texas Rangers, we've been able to tie in several individuals involved in our homicide. We anticipate making further arrests."

George Scott, a neighbor of Cervantes, was relieved arrests were made.

Yoakum may have a sigh of relief now that three of the men have been arrested in the murder, Scott, 66, who lived next door to Cervantes about four years, said. "It makes a lot of people in Yoakum feel a lot safer."

The arrests may not give the Cervantes' closure, but it may help them better understand why the 70-year-old man was killed, Scott said.

"It was a senseless murder," Scott said. "Now the question is why are these teenagers out at 3 a.m. Where were their parents?"

Other Yoakum residents, too, were pleased to hear of the arrests.

"I think it's great they made the arrests so quickly," said Evelyn Miculka, who has lived in Yoakum for 35 years.

Roann Leach grew up in Yoakum and moved back about 18 months ago.

"We wanted to come to a small, safe town," Leach said. "I'm glad arrests have been made. It makes me feel a little safer. I wish there wasn't so much crime in Yoakum. We need to find a solution."

A group of about five men robbed Cervantes' 18-year-old grandson, Jose Carlos Cervantes, for the $90 he had in his wallet, said the dead man's granddaughter, Berenice Moreno, who witnessed the robbery. The incident occurred about 3 a.m. Moreno was asleep in her bedroom when she was awakened by the men.

Cervantes, who had been in the United States less than five years, worked at Eddy Packing Co., where he sorted recycling materials.

The family of the victim was in Mexico and not available for comment Friday afternoon.

Reynosa and Ibarra were in Lavaca County Jail and the 16-year-old was in the Victoria County Juvenile Detention Center.

Assisting Yoakum Police and Texas Rangers in the arrests were the Lavaca County Sheriff's Office, Lavaca County District Attorney's investigator, and Department of Public Safety.

Advocate reporter J.R. Ortega contributed to this article.

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