Police Arrest Suspects Accused of Murdering Weslaco Doctor

4 years 3 months 1 week ago Friday, January 10 2020 Jan 10, 2020 January 10, 2020 9:03 AM January 10, 2020 in News - Local

A conversation with a curandero resulted in the murder of a Rio Grande Valley doctor last year, Weslaco police Chief Joel Rivera said Friday.

The Weslaco Police Department believes Dr. John Jesus Dominguez, 59, of Mercedes had a conversation with a curandero, Rivera said during a news conference Friday morning.

"At this point, we believe Dr. Dominguez had entertained a black magic doctor — a cuendero — and disclosed certain facts to him," Rivera said. "And that cuendero relayed that to our initial suspects."

The doctor confided in the curandero that he had been extorted, Rivera said in an interview after the news conference.

The curandero told Josue Torres Benavidez, 31, of Alamo about the conversation, Rivera said. After he talked with the curandero, Torres cooked up a plan.

"Mr. Torres was — we believe him to be the mastermind of the entire plot," Rivera said. "Torres has a connection to the cuendero that eventually gave up information that led him to put this whole plan together."

Torres apparently recruited Joel Ismael Gonzalez, 17, of Alamo and Luis Antonio Valenzuela, 19, of Weslaco to assist him with the plan.

Gonzalez and Valenzuela approached the doctor in a parking lot on Nov. 7, 2019.

Surveillance video released by the police department shows a black car approach a white car in the parking lot. A person exits the black car and fires a pistol at the white car, which speeds away.

Rivera said the doctor suffered a non-life threatening injury to his left leg.

Moments later the white car — with the doctor behind the wheel — was involved in a crash on the 500 block of E. Business 83.

"We believe that the motor vehicle collision is what caused the doctor's death, and not necessarily the shooting," Rivera said.

Gonzalez and Valenzuela planned to kidnap the doctor and hold him for ransom, Rivera said.

The Weslaco Police Department solved the murder with assistance from the Texas Department of Public Safety, the FBI, U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the U.S. Marshals Service, the Hidalgo County Sheriff's Office, the Mission Police Department, the Runnels County Sheriff's Office and other law enforcement agencies.

Torres, Gonzalez and Valenzuela are charged with murder, a first-degree felony.

Court records don't list attorneys for the men, who remain at the Hidalgo County jail and couldn't be reached for comment.

The curandero is currently incarcerated in state prison, Rivera said.

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