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3 men found dead in a cemetery, officials say killings were 'a message'

Posted at 6:34 AM, Feb 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-20 08:34:08-05

Three men were found killed in a cemetery in California, and authorities are now looking for answers.

"Three people killed at the same time? That was a message for something. Whether it was for someone else or to them, it certainly is not the norm," Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said at a press conference Tuesday.

The bodies were found Monday in a cemetery in Perris, located about 70 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

Bianco assured that there was no threat to the public and that the killings were "isolated incidents." He also dispelled rumors that there may be a serial killer on the loose.

Investigators are looking into whether the killings were gang- or cartel-related, according to Bianco.

"We're looking into all that, but at this point we can't confirm one way or the other," he said.

The victims were identified by police as Jaime Covarrubias Espindola, 50, Jose Maria Aguilar-Espejel, 38, and Rodrigo Aguilar-Espejel, 28.

Authorities would not say how they were killed, but Bianco said it appears to have been an execution that took place in the cemetery, according to ABC Fresno station KFSN.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.