Accessibility links

Reward Increased For California Murder Suspect

The death toll in Sacramento, California, climbed to six on Tuesday, after police found the body of the three-year-old son of a Ukrainian immigrant. Authorities say the man, who is a suspect in the deaths of five other family members, left a note on a photograph, which led police to the body of the child. Sacramento officials have offered a $10,000 reward for the man's capture.

Police believe Nikolay Soltys, 27, stabbed his pregnant wife, then drove to the nearby home of other family members in suburban Sacramento. There, police say he killed his elderly aunt and uncle and two children. The nine-year-old girl and 10-year-old boy were his cousins.

Tuesday, Sacramento police appealed to the immigrant community of Russians and Ukrainians for help in locating the man.

Police say that Nikolay Soltys fled with his three-year-old son, Sergey, and later abandoned his car in Sacramento. He has relatives in Seattle, New York and North Carolina, and possibly Oregon, and police say a national search is underway.

Mr. Soltys has lived in the United States for four years the first three years in New York and for the past two months, in the Sacramento suburb of North Highlands. There, he was part of a close-knit immigrant community of 75,000 Russians and Ukrainians. Many are members of Evangelical or Pentecostal Christian churches, and the suspect had applied for membership to at least one of the churches. Church leaders reportedly had concerns when he failed to respond to some questions during an interview.

Police are looking to the immigrant community for help in locating the man. Sergeant James Lewis of the Sacramento Sheriff's Department says the reward may encourage people with information to come forward.

"We understand that there's a reluctance in the Russian community to come forward to law enforcement because they're distrustful of law enforcement based on their experiences in the old country," he said. "And so we're hoping that this reward will actually build a bridge between us and them so that we can get that information to ultimately lead to his capture."

Neighbors say the suspect was rejected for military service in Ukraine because of mental instability. They also say he had a history of spousal abuse.

Police say they are looking into those reports. They are nevertheless at a loss in explaining the killing rampage, which took place at two locations. Police say that is highly unusual. The suspect was unemployed, but the killings occurred on the morning when he was to start attending college and his wife was to start a new job.