The immigrant wine bottler accused of the savage slayings of his wife, two little daughters and four other people left a note in his bloodied car asking God to forgive him for a rampage he said "this law made me do."
The FBI joined the search Monday for suspected mass killer Ramon Salcido, 28, because authorities fear he may be headed for his native Mexico.But Sonoma County Sheriff Dick Michaelsen said he believes Salcido is still in the San Francisco Bay Area, "laying low . . . waiting for the media attention to ease up so he can make his escape."
"Anybody who happens on his path is in extreme danger," Michaelsen said.
Helicopters criss-crossed the skies over Northern California's scenic wine country looking for Salcido, who is accused of shooting his wife and his winery supervisor to death, wounding a co-worker, hacking his mother-in-law and two of her daughters to death, and slashing the throats of his three little girls, two of whom died.
Salcido's blood-spattered car was found abandoned in San Rafael, about 25 miles south of Santa Rosa. Inside was a note that said in Spanish: "Forgive me, God, but this law made me do it. We could live better, me and my children, but what can I do?"
Authorities could not explain the exact meaning of the note, but Salcido was known to have financial problems and he recently was notified that he faced stiff child support payments from a previous marriage. A neighbor said his wife, Angelia, 24, (some documents spell it Angela) was upset after learning her husband had a child by a previous marriage and was talking of leaving the gun-toting, hard-drinking Salcido.
But asked about a motive for the rampage, Michaelsen said, "I still don't know. Believe me, I don't know."
Michaelsen said evidence found at the house in Cotati, Calif., where Salcido allegedly killed his mother-in-law and two of her daughters, indicated he had used a first-aid kit to treat himself. If he was injured, authorities said, it could be a factor in finding him.
Michaelsen said calls about possible sightings had come in from all over California, and as far away as Louisiana, Maine and Iowa.
A neighbor said Salcido's wife confided to another neighbor that she wanted to leave her husband after learning he had an ex-wife and daughter in Fresno, and she thought she could have her marriage annulled.
The day before the slayings began, Salcido was served with papers ordering him to repay Fresno County nearly $6,000 in public assistance and to pay $511 monthly child support for his 4-year-old daughter by his ex-wife, Debra, who friends said was terrified and in hiding. There is no record in California that they were divorced.