Art Guerrero, co-owner of Guerrero's Tire & Auto Repair in Patterson, said he gave investigators a receipt Friday, Jan. 21, for an April 2009 purchase by kidnapping suspect Jose Esteban Rodriguez, 27. The receipt shows Rodriguez bought four new Kumho Ecsta AST brand tires.
Guerrero said those tires would likely still be good a year and a half after Rodriguez purchased them for the silver Toyota Corolla he was last seen driving.
On Tuesday, Jan. 25, sheriff spokesman Raj Singh said he could only confirm that authorities are looking into the new information and that the investigation is ongoing.
Though nine vehicles have been pulled from the waterway since Jan. 19, Singh said authorities are only comparing the tires of vehicles that appear to have been submerged for fewer than three weeks with the fresh track marks found last week.
As of today, only one of the cars retrieved from the canal — a silver Lexus with Saturn wheels that was stolen at the beginning of January — has had its tread analyzed, he said.
Authorities have identified Rodriguez’s car as a 2003 silver Toyota Corolla with California license plate 6HBW445. It had oversized aluminum wheels, a spare tire on the right front wheel and dark tinted windows.
Sheriff Adam Christianson said last week that it’s difficult to compare Rodriguez’s treads with the tracks found near the canal because the car is still missing.
• Editor Jonathan Partridge contributed to this report. Contact Kendall Septon at 892-6187 or firstname.lastname@example.org.