RANCHO CORDOVA, Calif. (AP) — Sacramento County sheriff's deputies on Wednesday arrested the 19-year-old brother of a man whose wife and two young children were found brutally slain inside their suburban Sacramento home a day earlier.
The department's spokesman, Sgt. Jason Ramos, said "something bad was brewing for some time" between the suspect and his extended family.
The suspect, Grigoriy Bukhantsov, was taken into custody early Wednesday morning and was being booked at Sacramento County Jail. Ramos said he was the only suspect in the Tuesday killing of the woman, her 2-year-old son and 3-year-old daughter.
A 6-month-old boy was found unharmed in the Rancho Cordova duplex.
The husband found the bodies when he returned home Tuesday afternoon, then ran to a neighbor, who called police. Authorities have not identified the husband, but they say he is not a suspect and has been cooperating, despite being distraught.
The identities of the victims also have not been released pending a coroner's investigation.
California Department of Motor Vehicle records show Aleksey Bukhantsov was the registered owner of a 2005 Chrysler minivan that had been stolen from the family's home after the attack. Authorities had been searching for the vehicle and spotted it about 2 a.m. Wednesday in the parking lot of a Denny's restaurant in Rocklin, a suburb to the northeast of the state capital.
They found the suspect sleeping inside a booth in the restaurant with a plate of chicken-fried steak with gravy. He was taken in for an interview.
"Based on that interview as well as what we have learned throughout the investigation since yesterday afternoon, we have arrested him for the murders of all three victims," Ramos said. "We believe he is the only person responsible for this. We're not looking for any outstanding suspects at this time."
Ramos described the manner of the attack as a "sharp force trauma" such as a "stab, slashing, slicing," but declined to say what kind of weapon was used or go into further detail pending a coroner's inquiry. He said there was no forced entry into the home.
He said Grigoriy Bukhantsov was somewhat nomadic, living temporarily with various family members and may have even stayed with his brother's family in the duplex where they lived.
The suspect's relationship with the rest of his family was strained, Ramos said, stressing that authorities had not identified a specific motive for the attack.
"Everything we've learned throughout the course of the investigation suggests he just didn't have a good relationship with family members, and there have been suggestions that something bad was brewing for some time," Ramos said. "But I don't think anybody, obviously, could have foreseen an act like this."
The suspect and his brother had other family members in the area, Ramos said. The neighborhood where the killings occurred has a large Ukranian and Russian immigrant population.
The slain mother was described as "a good lady" by a neighbor who declined to give her name but identified herself as a distant cousin of the slain woman. "And they're a good family," she added.
"I've been giving haircuts to her husband," the woman said. "They're a good family. It's so sad."
Maria Murguia, who lives next door to the home where the slayings occurred, said she didn't know the family well, but would often say hello to them, especially when she saw the children playing in the backyard. She said she never heard any yelling or fighting coming from the home.
"They were a normal family. I heard the babies playing in the backyard and saw their mother giving them food sometimes. I never see anything," she said. "I don't know what happened, and I'm so sad because those are little kids."