SEASIDE — Seaside police are seeking the public’s help in locating a suspect believed to be involved in the cold case murder of Elizabeth Baker.
On Dec. 29, 2014, Baker — a longtime Seaside resident — was shot and killed around 10:30 p.m. while seated in the front passenger seat of a vehicle in the 1200 block of Circle Avenue in Seaside. She was 52 years old. The shooting also injured the driver of the vehicle, a Castroville man identified at the time as Odell Robinson. Robinson was shot several times but ultimately recovered from his injuries.
Detectives entered into their initial investigation with several leads, yet those were quickly deemed inaccurate, explained Seaside acting Police Chief Nick Borges. The investigation lasted for around two years, Borges estimated. It eventually went cold.
That is, until Seaside police — in conjunction with the Monterey County District Attorney’s Office Cold Case Task Force — reopened the case late last year. The Baker case is one of several Seaside police have had the opportunity to revisit with the task force, a group launched two years ago to bring fresh eyes and technology to local investigations left unresolved.
Borges said that since reopening the case, new leads developed, allowing Seaside police to identify two suspects. He could not provide more detail as to what new information spurred a break in the investigation.
“I can’t get into it,” he said.
Seaside police are keeping the identity of their primary suspect for the case confidential for now, though Borges said “that will come out very soon.” Borges also assured that police are aware of this individual’s whereabouts and that they do not pose a flight risk while the case remains under review.
Meanwhile, police are actively seeking out a second suspect, 26-year-old Edward Rodriguez, who is believed by police to have been involved in the 2014 murder.
Even prior to reopening the Baker investigation, Seaside police have been on the lookout for Rodriguez since 2015 for the murder of 19-year-old Seaside resident Khaleel Johnson.
“(Rodriguez) is a bad, bad man,” said Borges. “We want the public’s help because he’s out there right now, creating harm and terrorizing our streets.”
Borges said that over the past seven years, local law enforcement has “turned over every rock” in its search for Rodriguez. He’s hoping a renewed call out to the community can help turn up new leads.
“I’m fairly sure (Rodriguez) is not anywhere local or even in California, but (we’re) not positive, so if anyone knows where he could be hiding, please give information to Seaside police,” said Borges. “We will have him arrested.”
Aware that newly identified suspects have known gang ties, Borges explained that police believe Baker’s murder was a case of mistaken identity.
“(Baker) was at the wrong place at the wrong time,” said Borges. “She was just minding her own business. … This is an opportunity for us to finally get justice.”
Anyone who has any information regarding this case, or the whereabouts of Rodriguez, is asked to contact any of the below law enforcement officials: Seaside police Sgt. Matthew Doza at (831) 899-6751; acting Chief Borges at (831) 899-6892; or DA’s Office Cold Case Det. Bill Clark at (831) 646-3971. Those wishing to give out information anonymously can call (831) 899-6282.
Contributed by local news sources