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Wedding crashers beat groom to death during his reception, police say

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Rony Castaneda Ramirez, left, and Josue Castaneda Ramirez were arrested on suspicion of murder on Sunday, police say.
(Chino Police Department)

Two brothers were behind bars on suspicion of murder Tuesday, police said, after they crashed a wedding and beat the groom to death during the reception over the weekend in Chino.

Chino police responded to reports of a fight at a home in the 13300 block of Oaks Avenue about 2:30 a.m. Sunday. When they arrived, they found two victims of battery with minor injuries. But witnesses told police there was possibly another victim involved in the fight who was missing, said Sgt. Dustin Tomicic.

After a search of the neighborhood, officers found Joe Melgoza, 30, in the backyard of a home on 17th Street suffering from blunt force trauma to his head. Melgoza, who had been married hours earlier, was taken to Chino Valley Medical Center, where he died, Tomicic said.

Investigators identified brothers Rony Castaneda Ramirez, 28, and Josue Castaneda Ramirez, 19, as suspects in the fight and served a search warrant on their home in Chino about 12 hours later. It was not clear how authorities linked the two men to the attack.

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Tomicic said the brothers were not invited to the wedding and had no known relationship with the groom. Authorities are continuing to investigate what prompted the two men to show up at the party and what sparked the fight.

The Castaneda Ramirez brothers are being held without bail at the West Valley Detention Center in Rancho Cucamonga. They have not been charged but are expected to appear in court Tuesday.

Family members and friends wrote on a GoFundMe page created to raise money for funeral expenses that Melgoza was the type of person who was always willing to lend a helping hand. The fundraiser had raised nearly $7,000 as of Tuesday morning.

“He always had a way to make you smile,” Melgoza’s cousin Alice Alvarez wrote.


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