Relative: Kannapolis suspect killed wife, man out of jealousy
By Sarah Nagem
KANNAPOLIS ó The man who police think killed two people Saturday might have murdered his wife and another man out of jealousy, a family member said.
Police are still looking for Joaquin Alvarez Rios, 35.
Rios’ three children, 4- and 10-year-old girls and a 5-year-old boy, were in the house at 702 W. 8th St. when Rios allegedly shot and killed their mother and another man, said Jose Hernandez, his brother-in-law.
Hernandez identified Rios’ wife, 28-year-old Lorena Soto, as one of the victims. Hernandez said he did not know the full name of the murdered man. Police have not released either victim’s name.
Rios was jealous of the man’s relationship with his wife, Hernandez said.
“He find her with somebody else,” he said.
Hernandez and his wife, Laticia Alvarez, who is Rios’ sister, said Rios came to their house in Kannapolis on Saturday night with his kids.
“He said he did something wrong only,” Hernandez said.
He said Rios took off in Alvarez’s Ford Focus station wagon, which police later found in the Freedom Drive area of Charlotte.
On Saturday, Hernandez and Alvarez called police around 10:30 p.m. after Rios went to their home.
Alvarez removed the kids’ belongings from the West 8th Street house on Monday to bring to her home.
Hernandez said the Department of Social Services took the children to an appointment Monday but was expected to return them to him and his wife.
Soto and the man were killed in a bedroom, Hernandez said. At the time of the killings, the children were also in bedrooms in the small one-story house, he said.
“The 10-year-old, she say she saw everything,” Hernandez said.
Rios worked construction jobs in the area, while Soto stayed home with their children, Hernandez said.
He said Rios was a nice guy and a good father.
“He don’t drink and he don’t do nothing,” Hernandez said. “I think he was jealous.”
Hernandez said he didn’t know if the couple had been having problems in their marriage.
Ricky Cheek, who lives on the adjoining property to Rios’ home, said Monday the couple had recently split.
He said he didn’t know the family well, but they would wave to each other once in a while.
Cheek said Soto “was very nice, and the kids were all very polite.”
He said he saw another man on the back porch of the house last Thursday. He said he saw Rios outside the house crying that same night.
“He seemed like a very nice guy,” Cheek said.
Cheek and his wife usually sit outside in the evenings. But on Saturday night, they decided to stay indoors.
“I’m glad we did, ’cause we don’t never go inside,” he said.
Cheek said he likely would have approached Rios on Saturday if he had known what was going on. He did not hear gunshots.
“I’m one of those type of people that would have stopped him,” he said.
Kannapolis Police Sgt. Chris Nesbitt said the female victim’s family was on their way to North Carolina from California.
Alvarez said she has not heard from her brother.
“I don’t know what happened,” she said.