BIZARRE Man in custody for woman's slaying : LUSENET : Current News - Homefront Preparations : One Thread

Web posted Thursday, December 6, 2001

Man In Custody For Woman's Slaying

NORTH PLATTE, Neb. (AP) -- Police suspect a 50-year-old man arrested Wednesday on a drug charge was involved in the killing of an 8-1/2-month pregnant woman.

Authorities were awaiting lab results to determine the suspect's possible ties to the death of 40-year-old Vickie Soto, who had her throat slashed and both legs sawed off below the knees Sunday night.

The man in custody was arrested on an unrelated drug charge, Police Chief Martin Gutschenritter said.

''He is a strong suspect,'' Gutschenritter said. ''Things are coming together very quickly now.''

Police found marijuana in the man's house while executing a search warrant Monday seeking evidence connected to the slaying, Gutschenritter said.

Gutschenritter would not reveal the suspect's name or say whether the man knew Soto.

Information from a Nebraska State Patrol profiler led police Tuesday to the South Platte River bridge just outside North Platte, where they found Soto's missing legs wrapped in plastic inside a cardboard box and other undisclosed evidence.

Police believe Soto was home alone Sunday night, eating while sitting on a sofa when she was attacked by someone she knew with a sharp object. Police said the attack happened between 7 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. CST and believe Soto's legs were cut off after she died.

Authorities did not say why they believed she knew the attacker.

From the number of defensive cuts on her hands and arms, police said the pregnant woman fought her assailant. She apparently died from the throat wound, Lincoln County Attorney Jeff Meyer said.

Soto's husband, Arthur, found her body at about 9 p.m. Sunday lying face down on the living room floor of their basement apartment.

Results from a preliminary autopsy have not been released, but authorities said it did not appear she had been sexually assaulted.

The discovery of Soto's body came too late to save the couple's unborn child, which was due to be born Dec. 16.

Meyer has said whoever is charged with killing Soto will not face additional murder charges for the unborn child's death because state law doesn't allow it.

The killing has the victim's family and others demanding a state law that would allow murder charges to be filed when a fetus is killed during a crime.

''I don't think it's right to take this baby's life and not hold that person accountable,'' said Soto's sister-in-law, Mary Soto. ''They should be tried for both deaths.''

Arthur Soto said the baby boy was to have the name Jackie Lee Arthur Soto.

''We waited so long for this baby, and he's gone,'' he said.

The Sotos also have a teen-age daughter not living in the family's apartment.

''They took my Mom away and my baby brother,'' said Jessica Soto, 15. ''Just because he wasn't born doesn't mean he wasn't a person.''

Services for Vicky Soto were scheduled for Friday morning in North Platte.

The Soto family also dealt with another tragedy in December 1999 when Arthur Soto's brother, 43-year-old James Soto, of North Platte was killed when a tractor-trailer struck the state road-striping truck that he was in on Interstate 80.

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