Investigators say DNA tests on a bloody glove have linked a Baltimore County man to the brutal killings of his three young relatives in May, according to a law enforcement official.
The official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the case is pending, said forensic tests on the glove -- found in the trunk of a car -- revealed Policarpio Espinoza's blood and that of one of the slain children.
Espinoza, 22, and another of the children's relatives, Adan Espinoza Canela, 17, were each charged with three counts of first-degree murder one day after the May 27 homicides. They are being held without bond.
The deaths of the children, ages 8, 9 and 10, captured wide interest because of the savagery of their killings -- one child was decapitated, two had their throats slit -- and because of the lack of any clear motive. In the days after the killings, some relatives said they could not believe Espinoza and Espinoza Canela were responsible for the killings, describing the men as caring and friendly.
The discovery of the bloody glove -- reported first in Saturday's editions of the Baltimore Sun -- is the strongest publicly known physical evidence to date linking Espinoza to the crimes.
Messages left yesterday for the men's attorneys were not returned. The Associated Press, however, quoted Espinoza's attorney, James Rhodes, as saying he believed the information about the glove was leaked to taint potential jurors.
The existence of the glove seems to contradict an account Espinoza allegedly gave to investigators. According to court documents, Espinoza told police he waited in the car while Espinoza Canela entered the apartment in the 7000 block of Park Heights Avenue shortly before 5 p.m. -- just after the children arrived home from school and minutes before the bodies were discovered.
Espinoza said that he saw Espinoza Canela leave the apartment through a rear window, and that later, when they met in a nearby parking lot, Espinoza Canela was not wearing his shirt. Police said they found a bloody shirt and towel at the home where the suspects were living.
Espinoza's brother, Ricardo Espinoza, came home from work to find the bodies of his daughter Lucero Quezada, 8, and son Ricardo Espinoza, 9, and their cousin Alexis Quezada, 10, who also lived in the apartment.
Espinoza and Espinoza Canela, both Mexican immigrants, are in the country illegally, a judge has said, as were the victims. The children's mothers, Noemi "Mimi" Quezada and Maria Andrea Espejo, also were in the country illegally. They ran a mobile taco stand in Baltimore.
Espinoza and Espinoza Canela, both of the 4100 block of Bedford Road in Baltimore County, are scheduled to be arraigned in Baltimore Circuit Court on Sept. 7.