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Police Investigate Triple Slaying in Banning, 2-Year-Old Bound and Gagged

Police said the child, who had been missing when the bodies were found, was located bound and gagged inside the home.

Police were investigating the deaths of three people Tuesday in an apparent triple killing in Banning.

Two women and a man were reported deceased inside a ground-floor living area of a two-story home at 12:20 p.m., Banning police Chief Leonard Purvis said at the scene on Phillips Avenue, just south of Williams Street.

There was blood in the crime scene, and a 2-year-old boy was believed missing, Purvis said. He was located bound and gagged three hours later in a room in the same house, Purvis said.

"We were looking for him, and a vehicle was reported leaving the scene," Purvis said. "We feared he'd been abducted. We found him later in a room next to the bathroom."

The boy cried as law enforcement personnel and paramedics placed him on a wheeled gurney for ambulance transport.

Detectives were treating all three deaths as homicides, though a murder-suicide scenario had not been ruled out, Purvis said.

"I'm just glad they found the boy alive," Purvis said. "This is still a horrific situation, however."

By Tuesday evening Purvis said he had spoken with some family members of the deceased, and described their emotions ranging from shock to sadness, and restrained anger.

"We don't have much we can release at this point, but it appears to be a real whodunit," Purvis said just after 6:30 p.m. "Some of the family are deeply upset, and it's important that we respect their feelings right now. It really is a tragedy."

Coroner's investigators began removing remains of the deceased before sundown. Some observers became angry and cursed after one of the bodies was wheeled to a coroner's van.

The deaths were being treated as the first homicides of the year in Banning, Purvis said.

The dead man and one of the deceased women were believed to be the parents of the boy, Purvis said.

"We have no suspects or evidence of a motive at this time," Purvis said shortly after 3:30 p.m., when discovery of the boy was announced.

Residents in the close-knit neighborhood gathered on Phillips and pressed at times against crime scene tape used to close part of the road.

Martha Parra, 57, who lives across the street from the home where the bodies were found, said she recalled one of the women who died.

"She came here very thirsty once, and another time she came in the winter and asked for socks," Parra said. "I felt fortunate to be able to help her. They were not well-off."

Parra said she hopes law enforcement and city officials will focus on her neighborhood in future, and not only because of the deaths.

"I hope they pay attention beyond today," Parra said. "We need something else for this neighborhood, and it's not just about this tragedy. We are concerned for where we live, and it is not just about the interest today in what happened. Every neighborhood needs the authorities to go out and see the problems for themselves.

"The people who are homeless need help, and others in the neighborhood need help," Parra said. "This is how we avoid another tragedy."

Pastor Lillie Alexander, of God's Holy Hand Testimony Ministry on East Ramsey Street, said she had visited recently with the people who died.

"I've ministered to them and pray for them," Alexander said. "I've helped them with food and counseling and prayer. I heard about this today and it's just a tragedy.

"You never know what is going to happen," Alexander said, wiping away tears. "At least I got to spend time with them and I know they were reaching out. I'll always pray for them."

Banning is about 80 miles east of Los Angeles in the San Gorgonio Pass.

Patch Reader September 09, 2011 at 06:52 PM
@ Jennie D, anyone who leaves a comment has the option to delete their comment, and theirs only!
Jessica Lee September 09, 2011 at 10:50 PM
Does anyone know if there is an update? Little man is on my mind. I hope he finds a good home.
Guy McCarthy September 10, 2011 at 12:32 AM
Jessica here are two updates: Banning Triple-Slaying Victims Identified, 2-Year-Old With Guardian http://patch.com/A-lNvJ Banning Triple Homicide: 'We're Following Up On Leads, We Need More' http://patch.com/A-lQD5
Jennie D September 10, 2011 at 04:56 AM
Thanks Suzanna! I was beginning to think that someone had marked it for deletion because they think I may have said something negative. I'm glad to know that's not the case. Thanks for the clarification.
Moises Parra January 03, 2013 at 11:50 AM
To Todd, If in any event you thought my mother (Mrs.Parra) was pleading for the authorities to keep order... you're wrong. She is a 58 year old woman that just endured watching another young man run off to his death shot by the unknowns. She is also a wife of a pastor that honored God in coming to this city to bring the good news. And for your knowledge, raised her children to trust and believe in this country to the point that her son Daniel Parra served two terms in Iraq (ARMY) I in Djibouti Africa (USMC) and still another inn the ARMY Inteligence community. You must already know that our laws are created to keep order. My mother happens to respect our constitution and every law provided by man. She doesn't however think that the laws are what restrain humanity. Tragedies occur and if our communities are going to change they are going to need the assistance of the local government. This is a point she clearly raised. You are correct in saying that the neighborhood should rise. Save that for another life! A Social phenomena is that which transpires within a given region whose innocence supercedes our recognition. If that's the kind of phenomenon you desire (you tired soul) than ask for it. Leave my mother alone!!!!!!!! If ever you have any questions stop by and ask for Mom, Phillips St.. You, like myself, might learn something.

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