APPLE VALLEY, Calif. (KABC) -- The mother and aunt of a 6-year-old boy with autism have been arrested and booked on suspicion of his murder days after the child was reported missing from Apple Valley, authorities said.
The investigation began about 10 p.m. Thursday when Duke Flores' grandmother requested a welfare check on him, the San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department said. Deputies responded to a home in the 22000 block of Cherokee Avenue, where the boy's mother said he had not been seen in over a week.
Jackee Contreras was immediately taken in custody for alleged child neglect due to her delay in reporting her son missing, authorities said. Deputies conducted a search of the area that proved fruitless.
On Saturday morning, the Sheriff's Department released a statement naming Duke's mother and his aunt, Jennifer Rachel Contreras, as murder suspects. The 29-year-old twin sisters were each being held without bail.
Jackee Contreras was booked on the murder charge after being interviewed by homicide detectives.
Saturday's arrests were announced about two hours before relatives and friends had planned to conduct an organized search for Duke in the Apple Valley area.
"The investigation is ongoing and detectives are continuing the search for Duke Flores," the news release said.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective Narcie Sousa of the sheriff's Specialized Investigations Division at (909) 387-3589 or sheriff's dispatch at (909) 387-8313.
Apple Valley: Mother, aunt arrested for murder of missing 6-year-old boy, authorities say