Homicide investigation continues

Union Democrat staff

Law enforcement officials Saturday night continued to investigate leads in a grisly Stockton murder with strong Tuolumne County ties.

Officers were seen at a home Saturday night in Sierra Village, where one

suspect, Valentina Paz, was taken into custody Friday night.

Paz, 49, most recently of French Camp, was arrested and booked into the

San Joaquin County Jail Friday on charges of murder and conspiracy.

The arrest followed Thursday's apprehension of Bryan Cook, 38, formerly

of Mi-Wuk Village. Cook is also held at the San Joaquin County Jail on a

murder charge.

Paz and Cook are accused of killing Michael Shane Jones, 48, formerly of Long Barn.

Jones' dismembered body was found Thursday in Groveland at a campsite.

Cook was attending the site and allegedly was attempting to burn Jones'

torso in a fire. Other parts of Jones' body were found in Cook's car,

according to Stockton police.

A third person has been questioned in connection with the case. Teresa Holt, of Sonora, has not been arrested.

Stockton police believe Jones was killed at a home on the 4500 block of Mist Trail Drive, in the Weston Ranch area of Stockton.

Police responded to the home Thursday and found a bloody scene. Police

have declined to say specifically what they found, but they concluded a

slaying had occurred.

Tuolumne County Sheriff's Office detectives assisted Stockton police in locating the suspects Thursday and Friday.

Facebook posts indicate all four people were associated to some degree.

Holt was a "friend" of Jones.

Jones is identified as Paz' "partner" on Paz' Facebook page. A photo

shows Paz and Jones together at Jones' son's wedding in October.

Jones said he was a Summerville High graduate, and Holt and Paz say they

attended Columbia College at some point. Older newspaper stories show

Cook was a graduate of Mother Lode Christian School and had a string of

arrests starting in about 2004 for drugs, weapons possession and receipt

of stolen property charges.

Paz is held without bail and is scheduled to appear in San Joaquin

County Superior Court on Tuesday. Cook, also held without bail, is

scheduled to appear Monday.

The Union Democrat
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