Three men found dead in a Perris cemetery Monday morning were killed there, Riverside County Sheriff Chad Bianco said Tuesday.
The bodies of the deceased were discovered near a grave site at Perris Valley Cemetery, located in the 900 block of North Perris Boulevard, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department. Deputies were called to the area around 10:20 a.m.
The victims include Jaime Covarrubias Espindola, 50; Jose Maria Aguilar-Espejel, 38; and Rodrigo Aguilar-Espejel, 28, the department said. All three men were Perris residents.
Bianco said their bodies were discovered near the grave of a man killed in Mexico in December, and investigators believe they were all killed about the same time.
"That was a message for something," Bianco said. "It's certainly not the norm."
However, the sheriff would not say how the men were killed.
"There is some information that we don’t want out there," Bianco said.
The triple homicide appears to be an "isolated incident" and not related to other recent killings in Perris, Bianco said. This month, three men were shot and killed in separate incidents around the city.
"Just because there have been several (homicides) in the last month does not mean (local residents') safety is in jeopardy," Bianco said.
On Monday, some witnesses told KTLA they could see the dead bodies at the cemetery before deputies arrived, two of them lying atop a grave and at least one wrapped in what appeared to be a sleeping bag.
Bianco said investigators are looking into tips indicating possible gang or drug cartel connections. Meanwhile, he said, detectives are still working to obtain, download and review surveillance footage that will hopefully reveal more.
"We’re trying to figure out why they were there and who was there with them," he said.
The cemetery was closed Monday as two of the three bodies remained there for several hours while detectives investigated.