The ex-wife of an Exeter police officer who was found slain in his Goshen home Friday has been arrested, Tulare County Sheriff Mike Boudreaux said Saturday evening.
Erika Sandoval, 28, of Visalia, was taken into custody around 5 p.m. Saturday without incident on a search warrant, he said. She will be charged with homicide, Boudreaux said at a news conference at the Tulare County Sheriff’s Department headquarters.
Officers discovered the body of Daniel Green, 31, a 10-year veteran, in his home Friday when he did not report for work. The body had gunshot wounds, Boudreaux said. He would not say how many times Green was shot or in what part of his body.
Investigators discovered strong evidence implicating Sandoval, Boudreaux said, but he declined to provide details.
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“We are confident that we have the sole person responsible for this homicide,” he said.
Investigators are still collecting evidence, and much work still must be done, he added.
Officials are not aware of the reason for the conflict in the couple’s relationship, Boudreaux said.
Next to Boudreaux at the news conference was Exeter Police Chief Cliff Bush, who hired Green 10 years ago. “He was a very professional and very smart man. He was looked at as a reference and as a mentor,” Bush said.
The staff of the Exeter Police Department is “still in a state of shock,” he said.
Officials are relieved that an arrest could be made so quickly to alleviate fears among community members that a murderer might be on the loose, Boudreaux said.
One of Green’s neighbors, Ryan Peterson, said their neighborhood has always been safe. In the six and a half years Green lived across the street, Peterson said he never saw any suspicious activity at the home on the 7000 block of Lickey Court, near Cottontail Street in a newer subdivision east of Highway 99.
“He was just a really nice guy, always smiling,” Peterson said.
Peterson said Green had a son, about 2 years old, who spent time at his home on his days off work.
The child has been placed in the care of family, Boudreaux said.
Peterson said Green and Sandoval divorced around the time the child was born.
Other neighbors, who asked to not be identified for safety reasons, said they moved into their home after seeing Green’s squad car parked outside. They thought his presence in the neighborhood would keep crime away. They said Green was friendly and let their young children play with his car’s siren lights.
His death has shaken their family: “It’s scary because it was bright daylight and he’s a cop.”
Another neighbor said she saw Green twice the day he was found dead. She said she saw him leave early Friday morning and return home around 1 p.m. A fourth neighbor said she previously noticed someone in an unknown vehicle who would park near Green’s residence and watch his home.