Stanislaus County Sheriff’s Detectives have arrested two people for the February 2014 homicide at the Turlock rest stop.
Detectives arrested Bryan Dean Small, 42, of Modesto, for homicide and Cheryl Ruth Liberty, 65, of Modesto, for accessory on Wednesday, nearly a one year to the day of the homicide.
On Feb. 26, 2014, emergency personnel responded to the Enoch Christoffersen Rest Stop, off of northbound Highway 99, shortly after 8 p.m. for medical aid.
Upon arrival, medical services were rendered to the victim, Christina Cardoza, 41, of Merced, however Cardoza died on scene and law enforcement was called. Her death, at the time, was deemed “suspicious.”
Detectives learned that Cardoza had had sustained an injury earlier that day. An autopsy determined that Cardoza had died from blunt force trauma to her upper body.
Both Small and Liberty were persons of interest during the initial investigation and Small had been previously interviewed and released.
According to authorities, Small and Cardoza had been involved in an altercation in the rural area of Merced County prior to them arriving at the rest stop. Detectives developed evidence that Small had allegedly killed Cardoza and Liberty had allegedly helped him after the victim had been killed.
Detectives obtained arrest warrants for Small and Liberty on Wednesday and found them both near a residence in Modesto. Both were booked into Stanislaus County Jail, Small on no bail and Liberty on $25,000 bail.