Family of man whose remains found in San Bernardino ‘tomb’ frustrated answers coming years after his disappearance – San Bernardino Sun



Family members of a man whose remains police say were recently discovered by detectives in a “makeshift tomb” in the home of his girlfriend — prompting her arrest eight years after he vanished — are frustrated it took so long to get answers about why he went missing.

Trista Spicer, 43, was arrested on suspicion of murder on Sept. 2, nine days after San Bernardino police served a search warrant on the Davidson Street home following a tip that human remains could be found there.

Spicer and Eric Israel Mercado, then 42, had been dating for three years and were living together when Mercardo disappeared in 2014. Spicer, who remained in custody, has pleaded not guilty.

Police have not described what they have called a “makeshift tomb,” other than to say someone attempted to conceal the remains. Affidavits written to obtain search and arrest warrants, which are usually public records and could shed light on how police learned of Mercado’s location after eight years, have not yet been filed at the San Bernardino Justice Center.

Mercado’s sisters Mahira Torres, 29, Dulce Torres, 31, and mother Guadalupe Plascencia, who said she is in her early 60s, say it shouldn’t have taken police eight years to search Spicer’s home. But the San Bernardino residents acknowledge that detectives initially lacked enough proof that Mercado’s body might be there to persuade a judge to issue a search warrant.

Plascencia wondered if Mercado’s background initially steered police away from Spicer as a suspect. He had been “in and out of prison” but had “settled down,” she said.

Police have declined to discuss the investigation, although they have said a tip and further investigation lead to the search warrant.

Mercado and Spicer didn’t argue in the three years they dated in the presence of the family, which they saw often, including two days before Mercado’s disappearance, Dulce Torres said: “She made it seem like everything is perfect.”

Various people told the family their theories on what happened to Mercado, leaving them confused and worried. Someone visited the barbershop that Plascencia once owned and told her, “He was cut to pieces and fed to the (pigs) and (that) we’d never find him,” she said.

Spicer voiced concern after Mercado’s disappearance but then began acting “scared,” Dulce Torres said. Spicer, Dulce Torres said, stopped talking to the family.

Mercado’s death is only the latest family tragedy.



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