A bizarre shrine dedicated to a macabre deity of death greeted investigators who reported finding a small methamphetamine operation inside a Hilmar residence Wednesday.
Merced County sheriff's deputies discovered the meth operation at a home in the 19000 block of First Street. Deputies were at the home responding to a possible domestic violence call, according to Deputy Tom MacKenzie, sheriff's spokesman.
After responding to the scene, deputies discovered that a 36-year-old woman had been stabbed, along with a 48-year-old male relative. Both victims were taken to a hospital and treated. The woman remains in critical condition, while the man was released.
Sheriff's detectives learned the woman had gotten into an argument earlier Wednesday with her boyfriend of 10 years, Jesus Ortega, 38. Later that night, Ortega returned and let himself into the residence with his key. Another argument erupted and the woman tried leaving with her two teenage daughters, MacKenzie said.
Ortega then stabbed the victim outside the residence. When the woman's relative tried to intervene, he was also stabbed. Ortega then left the scene.
After deputies responded to the home, evidence of drug use and manufacturing was discovered. Agents with the Merced/Mariposa High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area team were called to process the scene.
Read the full story at the Merced Sun-Star.