Johnny Richard Soto and Melissa Domingo Soto, an American couple from San Ysidro who went missing days before Christmas have been found dead.
According to authorities, the nature of their death is being investigated as a possible murder-suicide.
Johnny Richard Soto, 52 and Melissa Domingo Soto, 45, of San Ysidro in San Diego disappeared on Wednesday, December 20th 2023.
The couple, who have three children, have been missing since despite an intense search for them.
San Diego police announced Wednesday they had been found.
Three children have now been left deceased due to this unfortunate tragedy but they want answers now and the police hint that this case is a murder-suicide indicates there may be more disturbing information to come.
Learn more details about this case below…
Johnny Richard Soto missing
Johnny Richard Soto is a 52-year-old American male of San Ysidro, San Diego California who is believed to have killed his wife and himself afterwards in a tragic murder-suicide.
Johnny and his wife Melissa went missing the night of December 20th 2023, just a few days before the commencement of the Christmas celebrations proper.
They are believed to have recently separated.
According to one of their kids Vincent, his parents were home on that night when his dad asked him to excuse them so they could talk.
He said it was something normal so he had no qualms.
“It felt like a normal night,” Vincent recalled.
“He was just sitting here watching TV like he always does. And my parents, they always talk. He asked me, ‘Hey, Vinny, can you leave for a minute? We’re going to talk.’ So I left the house, not assuming anything.”
Vincent waited for about an hour and a half before his dad texted him saying they’d left and he could come back home.
The couple have not been seen or heard from since until they were discovered dead.
Authorities released a pair of missing person posters for the duo to aid in the search.
The missing person poster for Johnny Richard Soto read…
Name: Johnny Richard Soto
Missing Since: December 20th, 2023, 10:30 PM
Date Of Birth: June 24th, 1971
Age: 52 years old
Hair: Brown Weight: 170 lbs
Height: 5 foot and 10 inches
Glasses: Prescription glasses with black frames, pictured in photo
Scars: One on left hand, index finger. One on the upper hip on the left side of his body. One incision scar from surgery in the crotch area.
Tattoos: Full Sleeve on left arm. Half Sleeve on right arm. Distinctable tattoos such as a spider on the lower left arm. Bouquet of flowers on lower left arm as well as a Two face mask tattoo on lower left arm.
Last known whereabouts: At the family’s house in San Ysidro with wife Melissa Soto, leaving in a silver toyota tacoma there is no specifics on what they were last known to be wearing.
Toyota Tacoma has Texas plates, with black rhino tires. Has a light bar in the grill of the truck as well as two spotlights on both sides of the hood.
Windshield has a slight crack in the middle of the windshield. Also has metal black rock sliders on both sides of the truck. First 3 letters of the license plate consist of LKM.
IF SEEN PLEASE CONTACT 911 OR SAN DIEGO POLICE DEPARTMENT PHONE NUMBER (619-531-2000)
Ring camera footage from neigbors of the couple showed the moment of their departure.
It begins at 8:51 p.m. when Melissa’s car pulls into the driveway.
“You can see someone getting out of car,” Raymond Arzola, who lives next to the couple tells NBC San Diego.
“You could tell it’s most likely a man because of the jeans and the blue jacket. I usually see Johnny wear a blue jacket.”
Then at 10:19 p.m., Melissa’s car pulls out of the driveway and then reparks in reverse.
A different neighbor’s surveillance video shows the garage door and car trunk both open six minutes later.
Family said police checked the trunk and didn’t find anything.
“He reverses at 10:32, and then you can see someone come out of the truck, come back out, and when we zoom in the camera, you can actually see it’s Johnny.”
He never saw Melissa on his footage. He said he saw Johnny get back in his silver Toyota Tacoma before driving off at 10:33 p.m.
As the siblings started to worry, they called the police in the morning and reached out to their aunt Christina Sandoval.
“They left with no clothes,” Sandoval said. “They left with nothing. All his clothes that he wears normally, like the sweats there in the bedroom.
“Her phone was left here. Her wallet was left here. Her keys were left here and then his phone was turned off about 15 to 20 minutes after he left here.”
The man had a gunshot wound to the head and the woman’s injuries are still under investigation, SDPD said.
“Her death is being investigated as a homicide with her husband as the lone suspect in what appears to be a tragic case of domestic violence,” SDPD Lt. Steve Shebloski said in a news release.
Melissa Domingo Soto missing
Melissa Domingo Soto, 45, is an American woman who went missing along with her husband, Johnny Richard Soto.
The couple disappeared the night of December 20th in a silver 2018 Toyota Tacoma.
A statement from San Diego PD read: “Johnny Richard Soto and Melissa Domingo Soto have been missing since the night of December 20, 2023.
“They were last seen driving a silver 2018 Toyota Tacoma with Texas License Plates #LKM6084 in San Ysidro late Wednesday night.
“If anyone has seen them or that vehicle since then or has any information of their whereabouts please contact SDPD or Detective Wilson at 619-980-4233 or 619-424-0447. Thank you,”
Melissa and Johnny’s family revealed their marriage was rocky and that they separated in July after more than 20 years together.
A next door neighbor, Raymond Arzola said of the couple: “They like to go to Mexico,” he said.
“They like to go to eat at different restaurants in Mexico, seafood places. They would love to go camping. They would love to take these long motorcycle rides.”
Once they split, he noticed a shift.
“There was one incident I asked him, ‘Hey, you think that you and your wife are going to get back together again?’ And he looked at me and laughed. He is like, ‘Nah, nah, nah.’ I was like, That’s kind of strange.”
Police discovered the bodies of Johnny Richard Soto and Melissa Domingo Soto Wednesday, December 227th.
A tragic scene being described as a murder-suicide, Johnny Richard Soto is believed to have shot Melissa then turned the gun on himself.
A missing poster for Melissa Domingo Soto, shared by police, revealed a good deal of information about her.
Name: Melissa Domingo Soto
Missing Since: December 20th, 2023, 10:30 PM
Date Of Birth: August 24th, 1978 Age: 45 years old
Race: Hispanic and Filipino
Hair: Brown Weight: 140 lbs
Height: 5 foot and 3 inches
Glasses: Prescription glasses with grey/silver squared frames, also wears contacts
Scars: No scars, has a lot of sunspots/freckles on face.
Piercings: Has ears pierced once on both ears
Last known whereabouts: At the family’s house in San Ysidro with husband Johnny Soto, leaving in a silver toyota tacoma there is no specifics on what they were last known to be wearing. Toyota Tacoma has Texas plates, with black rhino tires.
Has a light bar in the grill of the truck as well as two spotlights on both sides of the hood.
Windshield has a slight crack in the middle of the windshield. Also has metal black rock sliders on both sides of the truck. First 3 letters of the license plate consist of LKM
IF SEEN PLEASE CONTACT 911 OR SAN DIEGO POLICE DEPARTMENT PHONE NUMBER (619-531-2000).
The Soto family pulled together as they waited for news from police on the search with Melissa’s mother saying her mother’s intuition tells her that her daughter is alive but in trouble.
“I feel like she’s asking for help,” Concepcion Romero Domingo said.
“You know when you wake up and your heart is so sad because she’s asking for help. And I’m telling her ‘Just hold on. They’re going to find you because they want to find you.'”
“We’re worried, scared,” middle sibling Elise Soto said. “It’s not like them to do this. We just want them home.”
Sadly, that was not to be.
What happened to Johnny Richard Soto and Melissa Domingo Soto?
The San Diego couple vanished from the face of the Earth days before Christmas only to be found dead in a car in what’s being investigated as a murder-suicide.
Melissa Domingo Soto, 45, and Johnny Richard Soto, 52, went missing from their home in the San Ysidro district of San Diego on Wednesday, December 20.
The couple had been married for 20 years but recently separated.
They have (or had) three adult children.
San Diego police announced Wednesday December 27th that they had conducted a search with US Customs and Border Patrol and found a car ‘associated with’ the disappearance.
They did not identify the bodies, only to say they were a 52-year-old Hispanic man and 45-year-old Filipina female married couple ‘living separately.’
Authorities believe their deaths to be a murder-suicide, with the man shooting the woman before killing himself.
Their son, Vincent, said they were home on the fateful day when his father told him to excuse them for chat.
He said he felt nothing amiss because it occured frequently.
“Him and my mom, they like to talk and get together,’ Vincent told ABC 10. “So while they were talking, they like to go take the truck,” he continued.
“[Johnny] called me, he’s like, ‘Hey Vincent, we’re going go to the truck for a little bit,'” he further remembered.
“That’s the last time I heard from him,”
“My dad had his phone and his wallet, but my mom didn’t have her phone, wallet, or her keys,” Alexia Soto, the eldest, said.
“Even though they were separated, there were like no issues between them at all,” she added.
“They were still in contact. They still talked. She would come over [to Johnny’s house] and talk,”
San Ysidro (Spanish for “St. Isidore” is a district of the City of San Diego, immediately north of the Mexico–United States border.
It neighbors Otay Mesa West to the north, Otay Mesa to the east, and Nestor and the Tijuana River Valley to the west; together these communities form South San Diego, a practical exclave of the City of San Diego.
Major thoroughfares include Beyer Boulevard and San Ysidro Boulevard.
San Ysidro is the archaic spelling of San Isidro in Spanish.
It is named after Saint Isidore the Laborer, an 11th-12th century Spanish saint.
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