The bodies of a San Diego couple, who mysteriously vanished five days before Christmas, were discovered near the Mexican border in what appears to be a case of murder-suicide. Johnny and Melissa Soto, 52 and 45 respectively, were reported missing from their San Diego home on the evening of December 20, according to their children.
On the following Tuesday, U.S. Customs and Border Patrol discovered a vehicle in the parking lot of the Golden Acorn Casino in Campo, California. Inside the car were the bodies of a man with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and a woman with injuries of an undetermined nature, as reported by the San Diego Police. The bodies were later identified as the missing Soto couple by local news station NBC 7 San Diego.
The couple’s sudden disappearance had left their adult children in a state of shock and worry, especially given the knowledge that their parents’ marriage was experiencing difficulties. Vincent, the couple’s youngest son, recalled the night of their disappearance as a seemingly normal evening. His father had asked him to leave the house for a while so that the couple could talk.
Two hours later, Vincent received a text from his father, informing him that he could return home as they had left the house. This was the last known contact anyone had with the couple. The couple, who had reportedly separated in July after two decades of marriage, never returned home.
Alexia Soto, the couple’s eldest daughter, expressed the family’s hope that their parents would return for Christmas. When they didn’t, the children contacted the police and their aunt, Christina Sandoval. Sandoval revealed that the couple had left without taking any belongings with them.
A neighbor’s security camera captured the couple’s last moments at their home. Around 8:50 p.m., Melissa’s car was seen pulling into the driveway and a figure, believed to be Johnny, got out. Approximately ninety minutes later, the car was seen leaving the driveway.
Despite their separation, family members stated that the couple maintained a cordial relationship. The family has been in a state of suspended animation since the couple’s disappearance, with Christmas presents still unopened under the tree.
Sandoval initiated an online fundraiser to help cover the family’s expenses. Melissa’s mother, Concepcion Romero Domingo, had shared a haunting premonition with a local station, expressing a feeling that her daughter was asking for help. The San Diego Police have yet to respond to inquiries about the case.