A week after requesting the public’s help in locating 24-year-old Sarah Montoya, authorities announced Monday that she was arrested on suspicion of killing her grandmother.
Paula Montoya, 64, was found dead in her home in the 6600 block of Pine Avenue in Bell by police on July 21 after her son reported not hearing from her for several days.
Paula Montoya’s body was found wrapped up in clear plastic and a blanket in the bathroom, said Lt. Mike Rosson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Information Bureau. The coroner’s office later determined that she died from asphyxiation by neck compressions, and that she also suffered several broken ribs and injury to her head.
According to Rosson, Sarah Montoya admitted to investigators that she killed her grandmother.
“As she stated, she just snapped,” he said.
Paula and Sarah Montoya were last seen together at Paula’s residence on July 18, along with Sarah’s four children, ranging in ages from 1 to 9. Detectives believe that Paula was killed later that day.
On Aug. 2, Lt. Mike Rosson asked the public to help locate Sarah and her children: Abagail, Joshua, Yosu and Elijah Rodriguez. Shortly after that press conference, detectives were informed by public sources that Sarah was in Mexico and was planning to cross the border back into California. Mexican authorities detained Sarah and the four children at the Otay Mesa crossing, and she was then turned over to the U.S marshal’s office with the children.
“I’d like to thank the public because without their help we wouldn’t have known that she was going to cross the border,” Rosson said.
The children have been released to Sarah’s mother and child services was notified. Sarah Montoya is in custody at Century Regional Detention Center.
“The children and Sarah are all in good shape. They are safe and in good health,” said Rosson.
On Friday, Sarah was arraigned after investigators filed with the district attorney’s office for one count of murder. According to authorities, she has a very minimal criminal history.
Sarah was raised by her grandmother for the most part as a young girl and did not have a permanent residence as an adult.
“She came and went to her grandmother’s house quite often, staying for short periods of time,” Rosson said.
Paula was described by authorities as an active member of her local church and a doting grandmother and great-grandmother.
MORE LOCAL NEWS
11:55 a.m.: This article was updated with additional details from a morning press conference.
This article was originally published at 9:55 a.m.