Pieces Unfold: More on the Loleta Triple Homicide
Shelly Moon’s Instagram page, like that of many teenage girls these last few years, is full of starry-eyed selfies softened with filters. A video clip from two years ago with added special effects shows her being hit with arrows tipped with suction cups while her eyes become pink hearts–a cartoon version of falling in love. But, just four days before Valentine’s Day this year, the 16-year-old was allegedly shot and killed by an 18-year-old friend, Mauricio Edwardo Johnson, in a very dark end to her girlish, romantic vision of love.
Johnson is now in jail for her shooting as well as for the shooting of her mother, 40-year-old Margarett Lee Moon, and her mother’s fiance’, Nikki Dion Metcalf also age 40. (The two became engaged just before Christmas.) But, he first fled the area heading east on I-80 while law enforcement sought to capture him.
For law enforcement, the first report of multiple people being shot came at 8:12 a.m. on Wednesday, February 10, when one of Shelly’s younger siblings called 911. Shelly’s two younger siblings who were in the home that morning are now left without their mother or their older sister.
One of the two now deceased females–Shelly or her mother–was still alive when deputies reached the scene and she was rushed to a nearby hospital where she succumbed to her injuries.Law enforcement began gathering evidence at the scene and relatively quickly settled on Mauricio Johnson as their main suspect.
According to an article by the North Coast Journal, Humboldt County Sheriff Billy Honsal told the paper that “Johnson had been given permission to be inside the house by “at least one of the residents” and the family knew he was in the house prior to the shootings.”
Wednesday evening, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department broadcast a BOLO for three suspects in the triple homicide–Mauricio Johnson armed with a semi automatic handgun, Melissa Sanchez-Johnson, and Von Eric Keener. (Click on the arrow below to listen.)The BOLO said, “Suspects are currently pinging in the Auburn, California area en route to Indiana via I-80. Vehicle is a white 2008 Highlander… .”
Posts on social media soon identified the woman as Mauricio’s mother and Von Keener as in a relationship with her.
The Sheriff’s Department notified law enforcement both within California and beyond the state’s borders. And, according to a press release by the Utah Highway Patrol, at approximately 1:30 p.m., troopers were notified that a suspect in a triple homicide might be traveling through their area on I-80.
According to the Gephardt Daily, a news site in the area, “Troopers were able to spike the tires of the vehicle…about three miles west of Delle at mile marker 73, and to take them into custody at approximately 3:30 p.m.”
The Highway Patrol press release stated,
Troopers located the gray Toyota SUV vehicle near mile post 61 about 2:45pm and put a plan in place to safely stop the vehicle and take the occupants into custody. The Department of Public Safety Helicopter as well as the DPS Special Emergency Response Team were on alert and prepared to assist if needed.
A traffic stop was initiated and the vehicle refused to stop. The vehicle’s tires were spiked shortly thereafter. The SUV came to a stop in the middle of the freeway near mile post 74. Troopers and deputies from Tooele County Sheriffs Office arrested two males and a female. One of the males was the suspect of a triple homicide and the other was arrested on outstanding warrants. The female was detained for questioning.
A Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department press release and the video at the top of the page, indicate that a woman was following the Toyota Highlander in a second vehicle and, though, she pulled her vehicle over when requested to do so, the Highlander continued to speed away before being stopped.
Both Mauricio Johnson and Von Keener were booked into the Tooele County Jail. Though the woman has not been identified, social media comments speculate she is the third person named as a suspect in the initial BOLO–Mauricio Johnson’s mother, Melissa Sanchez-Johnson. As of yesterday afternoon’s press release by the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Department, “The female is still detained…with criminal charges anticipated.”
According to the North Coast Journal’s article yesterday,
At this point, Honsal said investigators have no evidence that Keener or Sanchez Johnson were involved in or present at the time of the homicides but that they “are investigating their roles after the homicides.”
“We take aiding and abetting very seriously, so we want to know through our investigation how they may have aided and abetted Mr. Johnson in his escape,” Honsal said.
16-year-old Shelly Moon, her mother, and her mother’s fiance’ are dead and Shelly’s two youngest siblings have lost their immediate family–whatever happened in their home this week will forever change their lives.
And Shelly, as well as her mother, Margarette Moon and Nikki Metcalf, who were newly engaged, will never again share cartoon heart Valentine’s or the warmth of their real heart with those they love.
A GoFundMe has been started by a family member for funeral expenses and to take care of Margarett Moon’s two youngest children, according to the summary on the fundraising page.
Loleta Elementary School where two of the deceased worked is offering “grief counseling for [students], staff, family or other community members that have been affected by this horrible tragedy. If anyone needs counseling please call our office so we can help you!…707-733-5705.”
- Three Now Dead in Loleta Homicide
- 16-Year-Old Is One of Three Dead in Yesterday’s Killings in Loleta
- 18-Year-Old Suspect in Loleta Homicides Taken Into Custody in Utah; Two Others Detained
*Please note: This story had two errors in an earlier version. Both have been corrected now. Our apologies to any who were confused or upset by the earlier version.