Surveillance, investigation and tips all played a part in identifying the suspects in the killing of 6-year-old Aiden Leos, officials said Monday.
After the May 21 shooting on the 55 Freeway left the Orange County community saddened and in shock, investigators with the California Highway Patrol circulated an image of a white vehicle said to belong to the suspects.
In the weeks that followed, officials received hundreds of calls and emails, they said. A reward for an arrest and conviction — funded by family members, donations, county officials and local businesses — climbed to $500,000.
The effort led to two suspects, 24-year-old Marcus Anthony Eriz and 23-year-old Wynne Lee, who were taken into custody at their home in Costa Mesa on Sunday.
On Monday, CHP officials said they received a tip and worked to enhance an image of the license plate on the vehicle, which led them to identify the couple. They then began to investigate the couple’s backgrounds and determined that they commuted along the 91 corridor to two workplaces in the Inland Empire.
Investigators were then able to determine that the couple was in the area of the shooting at the time that it occurred.
Photograph of 6-year-old Aiden Leos covers his memorial service program
(Gina Ferazzi/Los Angeles Times)
Eriz also showed knowledge and ownership of firearms through purchases and on social media. One of the weapons he displayed in posts on his Instagram account was capable of delivering the deadly round, officials said.
At the time of the shooting, Leos was riding in a booster seat in the back of his mother’s car when he was struck by a bullet in an apparent act of road rage. His mother held him in her arms until paramedics arrived. Doctors could not save him.
More details about the investigation and possible charges for the suspects are expected to be revealed in a news conference Monday afternoon. The status of the $500,000 reward has not yet been confirmed.