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MAGNA — The third of three people wanted in connection with the beating death of man in Magna over the weekend was arrested Thursday.
Unified police announced that Easton Jorge Esparsa, 18, of Salt Lake City, had been taken into custody. Details of his arrest were not immediately available. Esparsa was wanted in connection with the death of Fred Valdamar Ortiz, 41, of Magna, on Monday.
Esparsa is the third person who investigators believe used wooden blocks and a pole to assault Ortiz, possibly in retaliation for an alleged domestic violence incident. Earlier this week, Xandre Skye Daniel Hill, 18, and Osyeanna Maria Martinez, 19, were arrested and booked into the Salt Lake County Jail for investigation of murder.
"Detectives were told the suspects and the victim are known to each other," according to a police affidavit.
The incident began Monday when Hill and another person went to a dog breeder's home in Magna. The dog breeder, who was Ortiz's wife, had a noticeable black eye, according to the affidavit, and the group was told that she had been a victim of domestic violence two days earlier. Unified Police Sgt. Melody Cutler said no police report involving domestic violence was filed. The affidavit also notes that Ortiz's stepdaughter and mother said they were afraid to report an assault.
Esparsa told police that Ortiz's wife is his aunt and claimed Ortiz had a history of hurting her, according to a police affidavit filed when he was arrested. He said Ortiz was riding a scooter around the house, calling for his wife to come out, the affidavit states.
The group spotted Ortiz riding the scooter and got into their cars and followed him to confront him.
Martinez followed Ortiz to a grocery store parking lot near 3600 South and 8000 West and then hit him with her car, knocking him off the scooter, according to some witnesses, the affidavit states. Martinez and Esparsa, however, said Ortiz was not hit with by the car, according to the affidavit.
Hill, Martinez and Esparsa are accused of then running after Ortiz and beating him after catching up to him. One witness observed Esparsa hitting Ortiz with a pole while he was on the ground, the affidavit says. Esparsa denied hitting Ortiz with the pole but admitted to punching him, and claimed he kept asking him why he allegedly assaulted his aunt, according to the affidavit.
Surveillance video recovered by police shows Martinez throwing two boards at Ortiz's head, according to the affidavit, before punching and kicking him. Police say Hill admitted to tackling and punching Ortiz.
Police and paramedics were called to the parking lot. Ortiz was transported to a local hospital where he died as a result of his injuries.
Although there were other people present, Cutler said investigators have determined they were witnesses and that Hill, Martinez and Esparsa were the only ones actively involved in the beating.
Hill, who turned 18 just 10 days prior to the incident, was a football player at Hunter High School and committed to playing football for a college in Texas in the fall.