Four arrested in connection with murder of Lamar student Rhydan Bolton

Suspects Rogelio Garcia, Orlando Garcia, Darren Spikes and Kristofer Garcia

Four men are in custody in connection with the Jan. 19 murder of a 20-year-old Lamar student and a related kidnapping.

According to a news release from BPD, Beaumont Police detectives arrested four men, three over the preceding weekend and one on the morning of March 9, for the murder of Rhydan Bolton, a 20-year-old Lamar student from Houston. BPD detectives and investigators with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office have been working the case ever since the Jan. 19 shooting that occurred at 1:06 a.m. in the 500 block of Florida, reports BPD.

According to BPD, 18-year-old Diego Torres of Beaumont was arrested late Saturday night at a residence in the 2200 block of Gladys. Orlando Garcia, 22, of Beaumont, and his cousin Kristofer Garcia, 21, also of Beaumont, were arrested in the 200 block of Interstate 10 South late Sunday night. The U.S. Marshal’s Office reportedly picked up Darren Javon Spikes, a 21-year-old Jasper man romantically involved with Orlando Garcia’s sister, the morning of March 9. All were booked into the Jefferson County Correctional Facility and charged with murder. Orlando Garcia, Kristofer Garcia and Spikes are still held on $300,000 bonds each. According to BPD Officer Carol Riley, investigators believe Spikes, the last of the four originally arrested, was the driver of the vehicle used during the shooting, and that the Garcias, both of whom investigators report have been previously incarcerated, were the actual shooters. 

Torres was later released after the investigation determined he was a witness, possibly even a victim, and not actually a suspect in Bolton’s murder.

Riley said that the investigation revealed that neither Bolton nor the driver of the vehicle Bolton was in knew the suspects and had no affiliation with them.

“They were in the wrong place at the wrong time,” Riley explained, saying it was a case of “mistaken identity.”

“This is an ugly world we live in,” said Jefferson County District Attorney’s Office Investigator Marcelo Molfino. “(Bolton) was just out minding his own business.”

According to investigators, Bolton and his friends stopped by the store, and the suspects, allegedly targeting someone who drove a similar vehicle and resembled the victim or other vehicle occupants, approached the car Bolton occupied and shot him to death.

The probable cause affidavits filed for the arrests of the suspects indicate the men were looking for an individual who was involved in an earlier drug transaction with them and gave them counterfeit currency in exchange for narcotics.

Molfino said some of the arrestees have “prior ties” to a local gang, but the victim did not. A glance at the suspects’ Facebook pages shows them wearing the color red in numerous photos, a color often associated with the Bloods and other gangs, versus the blue used by rival Crips and others.

Molfino called the shooting “senseless” and “tragic,” adding that the investigation is exemplary of the outstanding teamwork between the different divisions at BPD, the Jefferson County DA’s Office and the U.S. Marshals Fugitive Task Force.

“In a case like this, you don’t stop and you don’t sleep until you find the suspects, prove up your case, make arrests and help find closure for the victims and families of those victims. We are sending a message to our community that their public servants will work day and night until cases like this are solved to ensure their safety.”

Aggravated kidnapping

The investigation into Bolton’s death and circumstances leading up to it is not over. It is ongoing, and another arrest was made in connection with the murder and additional charges filed against the three defendants already in custody for Bolton’s shooting, this time for aggravated kidnapping, reports BPD.

According to a news release from the department, on March 11, just two days after police arrested Spikes, BPD detectives, along with investigators from the DA’s Office, filed additional charges of aggravated kidnapping against Orlando Garcia, Kristofer Garcia and Darren Spikes. Seventeen-year-old Rogelio Garcia of Beaumont, reportedly the brother of Kristofer Garcia and cousin to Orlando Garcia, was identified and arrested as an accomplice during the investigation and is now facing charges of aggravated kidnapping related to the events that led up to Bolton’s murder. He is being held on a $500,000 bond.

“We are happy to get these guys off the streets,” BPD Officer Carol Riley said at the time of Rogelio Garcia’s arrest. “These are very dangerous, violent crimes they have been involved in, and hopefully the bonds are high enough to keep them in jail for a while.”

In the course of this extensive investigation, detectives discovered that this group kidnapped and assaulted a 14-year-old juvenile in an attempt to locate their intended victim. Sources say the juvenile was walking down the street from a friend’s house when the suspects allegedly placed a bag over his head and forced him into a vehicle. Once they picked him up, the victim was beaten badly while being questioned.

Police say additional suspects may be identified, and are also working to determine if witnesses who gave statements may have given false or incomplete statements. If detectives determine that is the case, then those people may face criminal charges as well, BPD reports.

“There are more arrests coming,” said Riley. “We’re not done.”

BPD Detective Charles Duchamp agreed there would likely be more arrests made in connection with Bolton’s death.

“There may be others involved, as well,” he said March 11. “We are still following up on some leads. … We’re trying to make sure everyone responsible is held accountable.”