Release Date/Time: 12/3/2012 4:03 PM
On November 22, 2012, the Salinas Police Department initiated a missing person investigation for 35 year-old Leticia Morales-Soto. Morales-Soto was preparing a Thanksgiving meal and had left her home with her uncle to get items from the store. After leaving the store, Morales-Soto received a call from a male named “Rafa” asking for a ride, a request that is not out of the ordinary. Morales-Soto dropped off her uncle at a different location and went to pick up Rafa. That is the last time family members have seen or heard from Morales-Soto.
At approximately 1:00 PM on November 23, Rafael Carballo, age 37, came to the Salinas Police Department with members of his family to report an assault he said occurred at Natividad Creek Park the day before. Carballo had injuries consistent with being in a struggle. The officer photographed Carballo's injuries and filed a battery report.
Later in the afternoon, at approximately 3:30 PM on November 23rd, Morales-Soto's husband contacted the Salinas Police Department to say he had found his wife's car at the dead end of Garner Ave. The vehicle was unlocked and left abandoned. The vehicle was towed and is being processed for any evidence. This search is ongoing and could take an extended amount of time.
When officers arrived the husband took the officers over to “Rafa's” house in an attempt to contact him. As the officers were speaking to Rafa's family members, one of the officers recognized some of the family members. He remembered them from the battery report he took earlier in the day. “Rafa” was eventually identified as Rafael Carballo. Carballo was not home at the time of the contact and has not been seen since. In the initial stages of this investigation, it was believed Morales-Soto and Carballo may have been together. His family has since filed a missing persons report on him.
The Salinas Police Department, working with the Monterey County Sheriff's Department's Search and Rescue Team, has conducted two searches in the area of Natividad Creek Park for Morales-Soto. The first search occurred on November 24th, and the second on Tuesday, November 27th. Those searches have not yielded any evidence or leads at this time. Detectives have continued to actively look for Morales-Soto and Carballo. There is some information Carballo may be in Mexico, but that is unconfirmed at this time.
Based on the circumstances of this case, detectives have secured an arrest warrant for homicide on Rafael Carballo (Rodriguez). We believe Carballo met with Morales-Soto and is responsible for her disappearance.
The Salinas Police Department is asking anyone that may have seen Leticia Morales-Soto or her vehicle on November 22nd or 23rd, to contact the Investigations Division at (831) 758-7226; or Detective Roman at (831) 758-7913. If anyone sees or knows the whereabouts of Rafael Carballo, they are asked to call the Salinas Police Department at (831) 758-7321.
Release Authorized by: Christopher Lane, Investigations Sergeant