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Mother brutally murdered
Young children may have witnessed attack
MurderDSC 0522a
Community Service Officer Andrea Contreras, right, carries evidence from the scene of a pre-dawn murder in the 500 block of South Veach Avenue. Officer Mike Espinosa was the officer in charge of keeping the crime scene secure. - photo by GLENN KAHL
Multiple stab wounds proved fatal to a 35-year-old Manteca woman as she ran from her family apartment – chased by her husband – into a neighbor’s front yard in the predawn hours Thursday.

It was the first murder of the year in Manteca. Police cordoned off the entire area with yellow crime scene tape.

A 12-year-old daughter frantically called Manteca police at 2:44 a.m. reportedly saying her dad was killing her mother near their small apartment in the 500 block of South Veach Avenue just to the north of Lupton Avenue.

Tevanie Deanne Tellez had run from the family’s rear apartment some 150 feet up the driveway to the street and into a front yard to the south.   Neighbors reported hearing loud yelling and screaming.  Police officers Tom Nunes and Bob Anderson were first on the scene, administering first aid and CPR in an effort to save the woman’s life.

She was transported to Kaiser Hospital where she was pronounced dead on arrival.  Witnesses told police they saw the suspect, Jesse Refugio Tellez, 48, jump a back fence after the fatal attack. Officers located the man walking back on the sidewalk toward his apartment a short time later.

He was arrested for suspicion of murder and for inflicting corporal punishment on a co-habitant.  He is being held in San Joaquin County Jail without bail.  Police recovered what was believed to be the murder weapon at the scene.

Next door neighbors Bill and Patty Kaiser heard the commotion, but they could not see what was happening because of a high hedge separating the properties.

Investigating  around the hedge in the dark, Patty Kaiser located two young children shivering in the cold – a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old.  The younger child was visibly traumatized, and police believed the mother had been carrying the toddler when she collapsed from stab wounds on another neighbor’s front lawn.

The Kaisers – grandparents of seven themselves – took the two children into their home and cleaned them up.  The only clothes the couple had for them were swimming trunks kept for their own grandchildren. “The 2-year-old was crying for his mom and covered with blood,” they said.

They put them down on the floor of their living room and let them be comforted by a TV movie before putting them to bed.  The couple said the younger child had a fitful sleep, crying, calling for his mother and jerking nervously.

At about 8 a.m., when the children awoke, they gave them dry cereal and milk and introduced them to a Lego-type castle with its secret doors and compartments.  The two played on the floor for over an hour until an aunt and uncle arrived from Modesto.  Bill Kaiser said the uncle was a great calming influence and told the children they were going to grandma’s house in Modesto to swim in her pool.

Retired from PacBell in Stockton, Kaiser said his wife has really taken the tragedy hard and, without a doubt, their hearts really go out to those little boys.

The murder victim reportedly moved into the residence about six months ago while her husband had left for Mexico. He had come back to Manteca just a month ago and moved back in with her in the triplex.

A neighbor said the woman came to see her one night two weeks ago complaining of tooth pain after a visit  to a dentist.  She was asking for any over-the-counter pain medications she might have in her apartment.

The neighbor quoted the woman as saying she “hated living in that dump” of an apartment.  She claimed they had a nice house before the economic downturn forced them to live in what they could afford.

Neighbors who were up late said they heard no commotion in the apartment before hearing the  yelling and the woman screaming .

It was just a block away to the north that another Manteca resident was stabbed to death in the pre-dawn hours on Christmas Day several years ago while trying to stop a thief from stealing his pickup truck.

Manteca Police spokesman Rex Osborn said there are no records to show previous domestic violence issues in the home.

Neighbors in the area were interviewed as well as the landlord of the property in an effort to establish some historical data to help determine what was happening in the house hold, he said.