SAN JACINTO – Just days after a woman’s lifeless body was discovered on the side of a San Jacinto road Saturday, April 29, sheriff’s officials announced the arrest of two men, accused in the victim’s shooting death. (Click link to view original story and initial updates.) The victim’s body was found on the 2600 block of Esplanade Avenue.
Although sheriff’s officials had previously stated the victim – who was later identified as 40-year-old, Latoya Calhoun – died in what they called a “motor vehicle-related incident,” on Wednesday, May 3, officials announced the arrest of two men for her murder. Both men were arrested in the city of Banning.
“A preliminary examination of the decedent was conducted by the Coroner’s Office on Sunday, April 30,” Riverside Sheriff’s Sergeant Robert Himmelberg explained in a written press release. “Their examination revealed the decedent…was the victim of a homicide based on gunshot wounds she received.”
After an investigation, on May 1, authorities arrested 40-year-old, Traevon Denae Stewart for Calhoun’s murder. They also arrested 62-year-old, Michael Bird the following day, as an accessory to Calhoun’s murder. Both men are Banning residents.
After their arrests, Stewart and Bird were both booked into the Larry Smith Correctional Facility in Banning.
The investigation into Calhoun’s death began Saturday morning about 6 a.m., after a citizen called 911 to report finding Calhoun’s body.
Investigators from the Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit assumed the investigation with assistance from the San Jacinto Police Department.
Esplanade Avenue was closed for several hours between N. Cawston and N. Sanderson Avenues, while evidence technicians from the department’s Forensic Services Bureau and other officials gathered evidence and documented the crime scene.
An online jail records search revealed Stewart was booked on suspicion of murder with malice and other charges. He remains in custody and is being held without bail.
Bird was booked on suspicion of being an accessory to murder with malice. He remains in custody on $50,000 bail.
The investigation is ongoing.
Officials have requested that anyone with information regarding this incident to call Deputy Cortez at (951) 654-2702. Callers can refer to incident file number I171190013 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s Homicide Tipline online form.
This is a developing story. Additional information will be updated as it becomes available.