Our network

Detectives: Mistaken ID led to Elverta man's murder | News

Title (Max 100 Characters)

Detectives: Mistaken ID led to Elverta man's murder

RIO LINDA, CA - It appears a young man who was chased down and killed with an axe early Sunday morning may have been mistaken for a burglar, according to a Sacramento County sheriff's spokesman.

Update: Counselor devastated by client's fatal axe attack

David Valdez, 20, of Elverta, was driving an SUV that became stuck in a ditch near the corner of 2nd and Q streets in Rio Linda Saturday night, said spokesman Deputy Jason Ramos.

Ramos said Steven Zinda, 29, came home early Sunday morning and discovered his home had been burglarized and apparently assumed Valdez was responsible.  The corner where the vehicle was stuck is across the street from Zunda's home.

Investigators said Zinda chased Valdez nearly a quarter of a mile through a field before killing him with a "sharp-edged object."  Media reports identified the weapon as an axe and Ramos said he would not dispute the reports.

Ramos said investigators found evidence that Zinda's home had, in fact, been burglarized-- but did not believe Valdez had anything to do with it.

"Everything points to the fact that he was an unfortunate victim of circumstance.  He was in the wrong place late at night," Ramos said.

Zinda was arrested Sunday and charged with murder.  He was being held without bail in the Sacramento County Jail with arraignment set for Tuesday afternoon.  Zinda declined a request for an interview with News10.

Valdez' family said he had been at a party Saturday night and called at least one family member to report that he had driven off the road and was stuck.

Valdez' mother, Maria Nunez, wept for her son as she spoke of the events that led to his death.

"My son was looking for help.  He was not trying to do anything bad," she said.

Friends and relatives were organizing a vigil for Valdez at 5:30 p.m. Monday near the corner where his vehicle became stuck.

by George Warren, GWarren@news10.net