Suspect in court for Daly City student murder

One of two Guatemalan men suspectedin the 2001 stabbing death of a Daly City high school student appeared briefly in San Mateo County Superior Court in Redwood City today . The other remains at large and is being sought by police.

Reynaldo Maldonado, 28, had been hospitalized under armed guard since he leapt 25 feet over a concrete railing at San Francisco International Airport on Oct. 20 in an apparent effort to elude authorities who arrested him in Miami days earlier for the murder of 15-year-old Quetzalcoatl Alba.

Alba had been a freshman at Westmoor High School when on May 21, 2001, he was found dead with multiple stab wounds in a storage room in the carport area of the Westlake Apartments, according to Daly City police.

Both Maldonado and his roommate, 16-year-old Erick Morales, who was a classmate of Alba, lived at the apartment, according to police.

A recent tip led police on Oct. 11 back to the apartment, where an excavation in the backyard uncovered the suspected murder weapon, a knife, as well as bloody clothing and Alba's cell phone, according to the San Mateo

County District Attorney's Office.

Maldonado, who was released from the hospital Thursday and is now in custody in San Mateo County Jail on a no-bail status, appeared in court with his attorney Paul Demeester this afternoon but declined to enter a plea, as Demeester continues to review evidence in the case. He is scheduled to return to court Dec. 12 to enter a plea and set further hearing dates.

Daly City police Lt. Jay Morena said today police have still not located Morales and are looking for the public's help.

“We don't really have any leads at this point,” Morena said.

“We're still actively pursuing anything the public can generate for us. If anyone's seen him, they can remain anonymous, of course.”

Morena said Morales, now 23, who along with Maldonado was in the United States illegally, is believed to still be in the country. The fact he lacks documentation such as a driver's license complicates the search, and he is presumed to be using an alias, he added.

Both suspects were originally from Los Amates, Guatemala, and the FBI and Guatemalan authorities have been interviewing their family and associates there, Morena said. Detectives also believe Morales has family in the Bay Area and are hoping to speak with them, he added.

Maldonado has claimed to detectives he has not had any contact with Morales since 2001, Morena said.

As for a motive for Alba's killing, Morena offered, “There was some idea of maybe a jealousy over a girl.”

Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact Daly City police detectives Gregg Oglesby or Frank Mangan at (650) 991-8172.

— Bay City News

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