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California correctional officer accused of killing girlfriend after reporting death as suicide

Birds fly over a prison building.
A building at the Corcoran prison complex is seen in 2013. A correctional officer at the prison’s Substance Abuse Treatment Facility is charged with murdering his girlfriend.
(Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times)
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A California correctional officer was arrested this week by Corcoran police after he claimed his girlfriend had died by suicide, authorities confirmed.

Luis Antonio Pulido-Esparza, 34, was booked into Kings County Jail on Monday morning on suspicion of murder and child abuse, jail records show.

Court records show he was arraigned Tuesday and ordered to be held without bail.

Officers were called around 7 a.m. Sunday to a reported suicide in the 1900 block of Evergreen Drive in Corcoran, according to the Corcoran Police Department. The 911 caller was later identified as Pulido-Esparza, who told dispatchers his girlfriend had shot herself and wasn’t breathing.

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When officers arrived, they found his 32-year-old girlfriend, whose name wasn’t released, dead of a gunshot wound to the head, police said.

“Officers interviewed Pulido-Esparza who stated he and his girlfriend had an argument the night before and he woke up to the sound of gunfire,” police said.

Authorities also found three children in the home, police said.

Detectives served a search warrant, gathered “additional items of evidence” and arrested Pulido-Esparza based on the evidence as well as interviews and “information gathered throughout the investigation,” police said.

Pulido-Esparza was working as a state correctional officer at the Substance Abuse Treatment Facility and State Prison, Corcoran, police said.

His current employment status with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation was not available Wednesday.

He is scheduled to appear for a bail review hearing Friday, according to court records.

Anyone with information is asked to call Corcoran Police Det. Skyler Pfarr at (559) 992-5151.

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