Mojave Desert massacre: Officials seek help identifying 1 of 6 slain victims

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By Yosi Yahoudai
Founder and Managing Partner

Authorities with the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department are asking for the public’s help to identify one of the six victims brutally slain in the Mojave Desert late last month.  

The massacre took place about 20 miles northwest of Adelanto on the evening of Jan. 23. According to the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Office, one of the victims, later identified as 22-year-old Franklin Noel Bonilla, called 911 to say he had been shot. 

Deputies responded to the area and, with assistance from a California Highway Patrol airship, quickly located five bodies. The sixth victim was discovered the following morning. 

Investigators believe the deadly shootings stemmed from a dispute over illegal marijuana.  

While all the victims had been shot, four of them had also been burned, San Bernardino County Sheriff Shannon Dicus confirmed at a news conference.  

Four of the six men killed have been identified as: 

  • Baldemar Mondragon-Albarran, 34, of Adelanto 
  • Franklin Noel Bonilla, 22, of Hesperia 
  • Kevin Dariel Bonilla, 25, of Hesperia 
  • Jose Ruelas-Calderon, 45, of El Mirage 

Officials are now asking for the public’s help in identifying an additional victim.  

He is described as a Hispanic male between the ages of 30-60 years old, standing 5 feet 5 inches tall, weighing 142 pounds with medium length, curly black hair and brown eyes.

The victim has a large surgical scar on his right forearm that extends to the upper arm, likely from a surgical plate in the right forearm. Another large linear scar marks the outside of his right elbow and forearm, according to a SBSD news release. On his left forearm, there is an irregular scar near the elbow area. There is also a linear scar on his right thigh.  

“Additionally, he has a tattoo of the word “Gio” or “Gia” on the left side of the chest,” officials said.  

Five men who were later arrested and identified as suspects are all facing charges of murder and robbery.  

The brutal killings remain under investigation and anyone with information about the identity of the fifth victim or about the incident is asked to contact Detective Michelle Del Rio, Specialized Investigations Division at 909-890-4904 or the deputy coroner Carol Fostore at 909-387-2978.  

Those wishing to remain anonymous can submit tips through the WeTip Hotline at 800-78-CRIME or online at WeTip.  

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About the Author
Yosi Yahoudai is a founder and the managing partner of J&Y. His practice is comprised primarily of cases involving automobile and motorcycle accidents, but he also represents people in premises liability lawsuits, including suits alleging dangerous conditions of public property, third-party criminal conduct, and intentional torts. He also has expertise in cases involving product defects, dog bites, elder abuse, and sexual assault. He earned his Bachelor of Arts from the University of California and is admitted to practice in all California State Courts, and the United States District Court for the Southern District of California. If you have any questions about this article, you can contact Yosi by clicking here.