FORT PIERCE, Fla. – Authorities on Monday found the vehicle that belonged to a family of four before they were shot to death last week along Florida's Turnpike, the St. Lucie County sheriff said.
The 1998 four-door black Jeep Cherokee was discovered at about 8:45 a.m. in an industrial section of West Palm Beach, about 70 miles south of where the shootings occurred, Sheriff Ken J. Mascara said.
The vehicle was being towed to the sheriff's office in Fort Pierce to be processed for evidence.
The bodies of the husband, wife and two boys ages 3 and 4 were found Friday along the turnpike in Port St. Lucie. Investigators believe their Jeep had pulled to the side of the highway before someone else in the vehicle shot them and drove away sometime between 1:30 and 3 a.m.
Yessica Guerrero Escobedo, 25, was found clutching her two sons in an apparent effort to protect them. Her husband, Jose Luis Escobedo, who was to turn 29 on Saturday, was found nearby. The victims appeared to be lying down or kneeling when they were shot, Mascara said last week.
Authorities said the mother and father suffered multiple gunshot wounds. The bodies were reported by a passer-by who spotted them in a grassy area along the highway.
No one has been arrested in the case, and a motive for the shootings was not yet known. Authorities searched the couple's home in Greenacres in Palm Beach County on Friday, but have not revealed any evidence that might have been discovered.
The family had just moved to Palm Beach County several months ago from the Brownsville, Texas, area. Family members in Texas said the couple were high school sweethearts who married about three years ago and had no enemies when they set out for Florida.
Monica Moreno, Yessica Guerrero Escobedo's aunt, said they were working with crime victims' services to get all four bodies back to Texas for burial.
"We're hoping to speak to the detectives for any new leads, because we're so far away, we want answers, we want closure to this so we can get peace," she said.
Neighbors along the well-manicured Greenacres street where the couple lived, just outside West Palm Beach, said they knew little about the Escobedos, who kept to themselves.
Seven other law enforcement agencies around the country were involved in the investigation.
Authorities have set up a tip hot line at (772) 462-3230 and 1-800-273-TIPS.