Illegal Immigrant Missed ICE Check-In Weeks Before Alleged Murder

An illegal immigrant who failed to report for an ICE check-in has been accused of stabbing a man to death just weeks later. Pablo Jose Gutierrez-Morales, 31, is one of three individuals arrested for the murder of Santiago Jacobo in Pleasant Hill, California. Federal immigration officials confirmed that Gutierrez-Morales entered the U.S. unlawfully in 2022 and was under ICE monitoring before being released.

On February 10, 2024, Jacobo was found dead with multiple stab wounds at a local park where he worked. His wife discovered his body after he didn’t return home from work. Following an investigation, Gutierrez-Morales, Vanessa Vera-Aguilar, and Jazmin Ruiz were arrested and charged with murder and conspiracy to commit murder. The Antioch Herald reported the crime stemmed from a “love triangle” involving the suspects and the victim.

Gutierrez-Morales, originally from Nicaragua, had been paroled into the U.S. and was part of ICE’s Alternatives to Detention (ATD) program, designed to monitor immigrants awaiting court dates. He missed a mandatory check-in on January 24, less than a month before the alleged murder. This incident highlights ongoing concerns about the effectiveness of the ATD program, which has faced criticism for its reliance on phone applications rather than constant GPS monitoring.

ICE has placed a detainer on Gutierrez-Morales, who is currently held without bail. However, Contra Costa County’s sanctuary policies may complicate federal efforts to deport him. This case raises serious questions about the management of illegal immigrants under the ATD program and its implications for public safety.

In light of this tragic event, perhaps ICE should consider offering frequent flyer miles for check-ins—maybe that would keep people showing up!