Police have arrested the son and daughter of a Southern California woman who was charged with murder after she was seen hauling a trash can containing body parts down a neighborhood street.
Daniel Ortiz, 25, and Chanel Alicia Ortiz, 26, both of Riverside, were stopped in Rancho Cucamonga and arrested Wednesday on suspicion of helping their mother dispose the remains of her ex-boyfriend, according to Ontario police.
Investigators were still trying to determine whether they might have been involved in the killing, Detective Jeff Crittenden said.
Carmen Montenegro, 51, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to a charge of first-degree murder.
Montenegro remained jailed Thursday on $1 million bail. Montenegro's public defender, Rebecca Taft, did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
Her children also remained jailed and it was not immediately clear whether they had obtained lawyers.
Investigators initially thought that Montenegro lived in San Bernardino but now believe that she lives somewhere in neighboring Riverside County, Crittenden said.
She also had a criminal history under the name Carmen Montelongo, the detective said. He did not have details.
Montenegro was arrested on Sunday after witnesses said she wheeled a 30-gallon trash can containing body parts down a street in Ontario, 40 miles east of downtown Los Angeles. Investigators said the remains were those of Samuel Wiggins Jr., 63, of Diamond Bar. Relatives reported him missing on May 1.
Investigators suspect Wiggins was killed at his home, and that parts of his body were buried at a residence in Ontario last month and then dug up.
A family member of Montenegro's, Matthew Bell, told the San Bernardino Sun that he saw Montenegro in a hole in the backyard of his grandmother's house on Sunday. He said he also saw her throw body parts in the trash can and that she offered him $5,000 to help dispose of the remains.
Bell said he instead went to call police and that Montenegro followed him with the trash can, still pleading for help.
She was arrested about 200 yards from the home.
Investigators on Wednesday found additional body parts buried in two large flower pots that Montenegro and her son put in the yard of a Bell Gardens home that belongs to a friend or relative, Crittendon said.
Each pot had remains covered by potting soil and a plant, he said.
The parts in the trash can and the flower pots were confirmed as belonging to Wiggins.
"The entire body has been recovered," according to a statement from the San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner's Department.
No information was released on how Wiggins was killed.
© 2011 The Associated Press.