PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Rhode Island law enforcement officials are reviewing what efforts were made to serve a temporary restraining order on a man now charged with killing the woman who requested it and her adult daughter.
The Rhode Island Division of Sheriffs is trying to determine what attempts were made to serve Daniel Rodriguez between July 26, when the order was granted, and Aug. 6, when a sheriff’s deputy told the court he could not locate Rodriguez, Chief Sheriff David DeCesare told WPRO-AM on Wednesday.
Rodriguez is charged with killing Evelyn Burgos, 40, and Vanessa Perez, 25, at Burgos’ home in Johnston on Sunday and kidnapping Burgos’ 2-year-old son. The boy, Isaiah Perez, was later found wandering alone in Providence. He was unharmed.
Rodriguez, 28, appeared Tuesday in Kent District Court on murder, kidnapping, burglary and gun charges but has not yet entered a plea. He had no comment after an initial arraignment on Monday at the Johnston police station.
Court records show Burgos filed for a restraining order on July 26, describing Rodriguez as her ex-boyfriend and saying he had been physically abusive. In an affidavit, Burgos wrote that she and Rodriguez had gotten into an argument two months ago and “he told me he would kill me.”
“I’m very scared of him,” she said.
The deputy who tried to serve Rodriguez wrote on Aug. 6 that he had been unable after a “due and diligent” search to find him at the Providence address provided, which Burgos said was the residence of Rodriguez’s uncle, records show. The document submitted to the court contained a handwritten notation that said “Needs Apt. (hash).”
DeCesare told WPRO on Wednesday the deputy is on vacation and the department has been unable to reach him. He said he is unsure whether the deputy knew about Rodriguez’s criminal history, including a previous murder arrest, when he tried to serve him.
Rodriguez was charged in the 2003 shooting death of a 26-year-old man in a Providence housing project. Court records show that case was dismissed in 2006 after a witness failed to appear in court.
Rodriguez was also charged in 2007 with the attempted kidnapping of a former girlfriend. WJAR-TV reports that prosecutors were forced to drop the charges when she didn’t show up to testify. She had told police she feared for her life.
Deborah DeBare, executive director of the Rhode Island Coalition Against Domestic Violence, said in an interview Wednesday that sheriffs should have gone the “extra mile” to serve Rodriguez with the temporary restraining order.
“I certainly think this is a wake-up call for the sheriffs department to look at their practices and procedures for all restraining orders,” she said. “A case like this should never happen.”
DeCesare said there had been about 1,750 restraining orders, including temporary ones, filed in Rhode Island this year through July. It was not clear how many went unserved.
DeCesare did not immediately respond to messages.
A hearing on Burgos’ order had been scheduled for Thursday.
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