March 1, 2024

Volusia County sheriff’s deputies said two children are without parents after their father killed their mother. Investigators said it’s not the first time the father was in trouble for alleged abuse of his wife.

Back in 2016, Oscar Mercado Salazar was booked into the Orange County Jail after being arrested on a charge of battery upon his then-pregnant girlfriend, Byanca Cruz Tovar. Deputies even took fingerprints, not realizing he was an illegal immigrant from Mexico using someone else’s identity. “They would be his fingerprints because the original Alberto Garza had never been arrested before, so he would never have his fingerprints on file.”

“Oscar Salazar came into the country illegally – somehow, some way – using identity theft this guy assumed Alberto Garza’s identity,” explained Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood during a news conference on Tuesday.

Sheriff Chitwood said Salazar stabbed the woman before stabbing himself to death

“The system failed her for not providing her with the adequate support and means necessary to encourage her and help her leave this abusive relationship,” said immigration attorney Ingrid Perez. “It was a complete failure of not being able to realize that this person was not who he claimed to be on paper,”

Perez said federal authorities could have removed Salazar from the country had they known he was here illegally and wishes they would have gotten him at the border before he entered the United States. “If he was caught and processed and his information was obtained from him – like his name and fingerprints – then had he got arrested, later on, then that’s one way.”

“The fact that he’s undocumented or illegal is not what caused this,” Sheriff Chitwood said. “He was an angry person, with a history of abuse.”

Sheriff Chitwood said detectives properly identified Salazar through one of his children’s birth certificates. “As detectives begin to search the house, they come across a birth certificate for the two younger kids and the name on that birth certificate is Oscar Mercado Salazar,” he said.

Sheriff Chitwood said Salazar’s father also came to the scene and identified his son.

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