RIVERSIDE (CBS) — A Riverside man has been arrested on two counts of murder in the 1991 deaths of two friends, including one whose body was never found.
Octavio Romero, 46, was arrested Thursday at his Riverside home in the deaths of 26-year-old Spencer Watts and 19-year-old Keith Sparrow, both of Victorville. Sparrow’s body has never been found, Riverside Sheriff’s officials said.
Sheriff’s deputies were alerted to the location of Watts’ body by a citizen who heard someone digging in the desert near their Lucerne Valley home. Watts was found in a shallow grave in a rural desert area, southeast of Santa Rosa Street and High Road.
Watts died of several gunshot wounds to the head. Authorities say there was also an arrow embedded in his head.
The investigation led detectives to Octavio Romero, aka “Tavo,” with whom Watts lived. Sheriff’s deputies searched their Victorville home, finding evidence that someone had been murdered there and another person tried to clean up the crime scene.
As a result of the 1991 investigation, 28-year-old Peter Carassone was identified as also being involved in Watts’ murder. Carassone, also an associate of Romero’s, pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit murder in 1993.
Sparrow, who lived in the Spring Valley Lake area of Victorville with his girlfriend, was last seen leaving with Romero on Aug. 26, 1991, just five days before Watts’ body was found in Lucerne Valley. Deputies say that’s the last time his girlfriend saw him and he never returned to collect any of his property.
Detectives say they received information that Romero murdered Sparrow and buried him at an unknown location, possibly near Adelanto.