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Metro

Man held in deaths of R.I. mother, daughter

Also faces charge he took toddler

Daniel Rodriguez was led out of the Johnston, R.I., police station after his arraignment Monday.

STEW MILNE FOR THE BOSTON GLOBE

Daniel Rodriguez was led out of the Johnston, R.I., police station after his arraignment Monday.

JOHNSTON, R.I. — The man charged with killing his girlfriend and her daughter here Sunday was involved in “an ongoing domestic dispute” with the woman and unleashed five shots, killing the two victims while three young children were inside the home, police said.

Daniel Rodriguez, 28, was ordered held without bail after he was arraigned at the Johnston Police Department on Monday morning. He was charged with killing his girlfriend, Evelyn Burgos, 40, and her daughter Vanessa Perez, 25, and kidnapping Burgos’s 2-year-old son, said Police Chief Richard S. Tamburini.

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“The last 24 hours has been extremely difficult, and we are not breathing easy yet,” Tamburini said at a Monday morning press conference.

The incident began with a 911 call at 5:20 a.m. Sunday reporting a disturbance at 3 Oak Tree Drive in Johnston.

When police arrived, they discovered the bodies of Burgos and Perez. Two other children, another son of Burgos and Perez’s daughter, were found unharmed inside the house, Tamburini said.

Rodriguez broke into the home before killing the mother and daughter, according to Tamburini.

Rodriguez was arrested Sunday afternoon at a residence in Providence. He did not give police a clear motive, but told investigators he and Burgos had been involved in “an ongoing domestic dispute,” said Tamburini.

Rodriguez is also charged with kidnapping Isaiah Perez, Burgos’s 2-year-old son.

“The main focus of this united endeavor was not only to find Isaiah, but to remove a violent fugitive from society and provide closure for families and friends,” Tamburini said.

The toddler had been the subject of a wide-ranging search by federal, state, and local officials after he went missing from the scene of the killings.

The boy was found unharmed at about 8:30 p.m. Sunday by a Providence police officer who noticed the unattended toddler near the Chad Brown housing developments, said Tamburini. He said police are still investigating how the boy ended up there or how he spent the nearly 16 hours between his alleged kidnapping and eventual discovery.

Isaiah Perez and the two other children living at the Oak Tree Drive house are in the custody of the state Department of Children, Youth, and Families, but are expected to be reunited with family members, Tamburini said.

When he was 19, Rodriguez was indicted and charged with killing 18-year-old Tyrone Tate in Providence, according to Johnston police and news reports. The charges against Rodriguez were dismissed in 2006, according to court documents.

The scene of Sunday’s slayings, a recently renovated two-story house with a well-
maintained lawn, is located in a forested suburban neighborhood abutting a reservoir. On Monday, the house was surrounded by yellow police tape as investigators from the Johnston Police Department stood guard outside.

Neighbors said they did not know Burgos or Perez, but said they never had any problems with the house.

“I saw them outside occasionally, but I didn’t even know their names,” said one neighbor who asked not to be identified by name. “Sometimes I would see boys playing basketball in the driveway, there were always kids around there.”

Another neighbor, whose son attended school with another of Burgos’s sons, said the area was generally quiet, and he did not know Burgos beyond waving to her from his yard.

“This neighborhood is pretty low-key; everyone pretty much keeps to themselves,” he said. “But this has put a scar on this neighborhood for sure.”

Perez’s boyfriend, Malcolm W. Crowell, 22, was arrested Sunday and described, along with Rodriguez, as a suspect in the murders and kidnapping. But Tamburini said Monday that Crowell was “not involved” in the crime, and the charges were dropped.

In addition to murder and kidnapping, Rodriguez was charged with using a firearm while committing a crime of violence, burglary, and illegal gun possession, Tamburini said. Rodriguez is expected to appear in court Tuesday in Rhode Island.

Colin A. Young can be reached at colin.young@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @ColinAYoung.

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