Staff Report | OBSERVER News Room

GRIDLEY — The Butte County Sheriff’s Office has arrested a Gridley man and charged him with two counts of murder and are on the hunt for another following the nationwide search of two Black men from Alabama who had gone missing.

On November 14, detectives contacted and arrested Ricardo Banuelos-Villarreal, 30, at a residence in Yuba City. He is currently in custody at the Butte County Jail. During the investigation, detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Alfredo Banuelos-Villarreal, 35, of Gridley for two counts of murder. Multiple law enforcement agencies are actively searching for Alfredo. 

LaDexter Pelt, 25, of Greene County, Ala., and John DuBose Jr., 20, of Tuscaloosa arrived at Sacramento International Airport on the morning of November 4. Surveillance footage obtained by the Sacramento County Sheriff’s Department shows the men getting into a dark blue, four-door sedan, potentially a Nissan or Toyota, at the airport. According to family members, their last contact was a confirmation from Pelt to his mother that he had arrived in Sacramento.

Two days later, after no word from either man, family members filed a missing persons report with Sacramento police. Investigators then obtained records from Pelt and DuBose’s mobile phone providers, which placed the men in a few different areas around the region, including Gridley, a small town about an hour north of Sacramento up State Route 99. 

The Butte County Sheriff’s Office announced Tuesday they believe both men were murdered at a residence in Gridley, although their bodies have not yet been found.

Over the past three weeks detectives have interviewed individuals in Gridley, Marysville, Yuba City, Sacramento, the Bay Area, and the Los Angeles area. Detectives have authored and executed numerous search warrants related to this investigation. Detectives have also interviewed numerous friends and family members of Pelt and Dubose. The friends and family members provided additional evidence that all signs of life ended shortly after Pelt and Dubose arrived in Butte County.

Detectives are actively searching for the bodies of Pelt and Dubose. Detectives would like to interview anyone who has interacted or had contact with Ricardo or Alfredo within the past three months. Detectives would also like to interview anyone who observed suspicious activity on their property or farm within the past month.