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Woman charged as accessory after man's murder

By Shavonne Potts
spotts@salisburypost.com
Authorities have charged a woman who witnessed a murder at Amity Hills Farm Tuesday morning as an accessory after the crime.
Rowan County Sheriff’s Office investigators charged Mirna Del Carmen Guevara, 38, of 2065 Mount Tabor Church Road, with accessory after the fact to murder.
Investigators said the suspect in the murder is Guevara’s estranged husband, Balmore Merino, 38, of Iredell County.
Court documents show Merino has used a number of aliases, was convicted of a sex offense against a child in 2007 and had been deported from the U.S. at least once previously.
Guevara was present Tuesday morning when, officials say, Merino shot Parra “Pollo” Policarpio to death in front of her home.
She initially provided sheriff’s investigators with false information about the identity of the suspect, Sheriff George Wilhelm said Wednesday.
Investigators say Guevara told them she did not know the identity of the person who shot Policarpio, 43, when she did.
Later Tuesday morning, Guevara talked with Merino by cell phone while sheriff’s deputies were trying to locate Merino, Sheriff George Wilhelm said Wednesday.
Merino moved to several different locations, Wilhelm said, adding, “She aided him in getting away from us.”
Merino remains free, possibly driving a 1999 Chrysler Town and Country minivan with N.C. license plate TYJ 2299. The van is described as either dark blue or purple. Wilhelm said the vehicle is registered to Mirna Guevara.
After the shooting Tuesday morning, Merino initially escaped in a Ford van that he abandoned a short distance away on Triplett Road in Iredell County.
Merino apparently used the Chrysler Town and Country van later in Iredell County. Investigators searched for Merino in the Harmony area in Iredell, where the suspect possibly had been or was headed.
The Iredell County Sheriff’s Office is assisting in the investigation.
Wilhelm also said Merino had been deported at least once, possibly twice.
Wilhelm didn’t say why Merino was deported or when, but in July 2004, Rowan investigators obtained warrants charging him with the first-degree rape of a 13-year-old girl. The Department of Social Services notified the Sheriff’s Office of possible abuse, leading to the charges.
About a year later, Merino and his daughter went to a hospital in Charlotte after the girl was injured in an automobile accident. Someone tipped hospital officials that Merino was wanted, and those officials called the Rowan Sheriff’s Office, which arrested Merino.
An arrest warrant said the sexual offense against the girl occurred between April 1, 2002, and June 6, 2004.
He was convicted in July 2007 of a lesser felony offense of taking indecent liberties with a child.
Merino served 15 to 19 months in the Rowan County Detention Center, according to documents at the Rowan County Clerk of Superior Court’s office.
The records also show around the time of the incident, Merino lived in Rowan County on Mount Tabor Church Road.
According to a 2005 Salisbury Post article and court records, Merino also used the alias Balmore Jose Ortega and at least eight other aliases:
– Balmore Portillo Merino
– Balmorg Merino Portillo
– Jose Balmore Magana Larin
– Balmore Portilla Merino
– Merino Portillo
– Merino Balmore Portillo
– Belmore Portillo-Morino
– Balmon Merino Portillo.
Officials said Policarpio, the shooting victim, had worked on the farm for about three weeks.
Investigators have not disclosed a possible motive for the shooting, although officials said late Tuesday the two men knew each other.
Wilhelm has said he thought Merino was a native of Guatemala.
Deputies and dogs searched at length Tuesday in woods along Mount Tabor Church and Triplett roads, where the suspect abandoned the Ford van less than a mile from the shooting.
Wilhelm said investigators believe Merino got into another vehicle once he abandoned the van.
Mirna Guevara, the woman charged as an accomplice, is possibly in the United States on a work visa, Wilhelm said.
She remained in the Rowan County Detention Center Wednesday under a $200,000 secured bond.
Officials say Merino should be considered armed and dangerous.
Investigators ask anyone with information about this case to call Sgt. Chad Moose at 704-216-8687 or Crime Stoppers at 866-639-5245.

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