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What we know about the case of Savanah Soto, the missing pregnant woman found dead in a car with her boyfriend

LEON VALLEY, Texas – The search for Savanah Soto, a pregnant woman who was reported missing by her family after she failed to show up at the hospital to be induced, ended in tragedy Tuesday.

Family members told KSAT that Soto, 18, was found dead in her car in the 5900 block of Danny Kaye with an adult man, believed to be Soto’s boyfriend, Matthew Guerra, 22.

SAPD Chief William McManus and the Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office have not confirmed their identities or causes of death.

Wednesday morning, here is what we know about the case.

McManus calls crime scene ‘complex’

At a news conference Tuesday evening, McManus said detectives were investigating the crime “as a possible murder.”

“It’s a very confusing crime scene,” McManus said. “…It’s a complex scene.”

The Kia Optima where the bodies were discovered was believed to belong to the boyfriend, he said. At the time of the 6 p.m. news conference, McManus said investigators had not yet moved the bodies.

He did not know if a weapon was found in the car.

The bodies had reportedly been there for three or four days. The Bexar County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed to KSAT Wednesday morning that the bodies were those of an 18-year-old woman and a 22-year-old man.

Family members confirmed to KSAT that Savanah Soto, 18, was found in her car in the 5900 block of Danny Kaye with the body of an adult man.

Joanie Wasil, Soto’s sister-in-law, told KSAT that someone contacted her through Facebook and said they saw the Optima in the parking lot. She contacted police while she and her family were on their way to the scene.

Wasil said she saw Soto and Guerra dead in the vehicle and she thought they had been shot. She took one look at Soto’s face “and didn’t want to see any more,” Wasil told KSAT.

Wasil added that she saw Soto in the front passenger seat and Guerra in the back.

The location is approximately three miles from her apartment in the 6000 block of Grissom Road where Soto was last seen at 2 p.m. on Friday, December 22.

CLEAR alert issued on Christmas Day

Leon Valley police said Soto’s family told them she was supposed to be triggered, but she did not show up at the hospital.

When reached by KSAT Sunday, Leon Valley police said they received a request for a welfare check Friday evening from Soto’s family.

Investigators went to Soto’s home and saw no signs of a break-in. Police told KSAT that at the time there was no cause for concern.

LVPD said they heard the couple may have been out of town.

On Monday around 4 p.m., DPS issued the CLEAR alert for Soto.

The CLEAR alert said Soto was last seen in a gray 2013 Kia Optima. The initial alert gave the temporary Texas license plate number 4289D57, but an updated alert issued Tuesday added another license plate number TRC9447.

The alert was lifted on Tuesday shortly before 7 p.m.

A CLEAR Alert is a state program for missing adults. CLEAR stands for Cooperative Law Enforcement Adult Rescue and is used to locate and rescue missing, kidnapped or abducted adults, or adults who are in immediate danger.

DPS issued a CLEAR alert for Savanah Soto on December 25, 2023. (Léon Valley Police)

Soto was ‘excited’ to be a new mom

Soto’s family gathered outside her apartment Monday, Christmas Day, and asked for the public’s help in searching for her.

“I don’t know where she is or where she could be because it doesn’t look like her,” her mother Gloria Cordova told reporters. “She was so excited to have this baby, the house is already ready for baby. She was so excited to become a mom.

Cordova added that there was no reason why she would have intentionally fled.

Wasil said they were expecting to spend Christmas Day with the new mom and baby.

“That’s all she talked about since she got pregnant…It was her life,” Wasil said. “She was so ready to be a mom. I think she was meant to be a mom.

Soto’s younger brother was killed in 2022

Soto’s younger brother, Ethan, was killed in a shooting May 16, 2022, in the 2000 block of Alston Street on the West Side.

At the time, McManus said Ethan, 15, went down the street to meet someone when an argument ensued, leading to the shooting. Ethan Soto was pronounced dead at the scene.

Victor Nathaneal Rivas, now 19, was charged with murder in the case. An arrest warrant affidavit said the shooting occurred in what appeared to be an act of revenge for a drug robbery.

‘There’s not even a single lead’: Mother of teen killed in West Side shooting seeks answers about her son’s death

In an interview with KSAT in June 2022, Cardova said Ethan had a big heart.

“I love him…I miss him. I would never have let him go,” Cordova said at the time.

Their family was behind a Bexar County courtroom fight involving Rivas. Video of the incident was shared with KSAT in October.

BCSO said that after Rivas made a gesture toward Soto’s family members, they jumped a partition into the courtroom and began assaulting Rivas.

Rivas awaits trial.

Copyright 2023 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

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