STANISLAUS COUNTY — Forty-seven people died at the hands of others in Stanislaus County in 2012.
The numbers reflect an upward trend over the past three years in the number of homicides countywide. There were 31 in 2010 and 36 in 2011.
Stanislaus County sheriff's detectives worked 21 homicides this year, compared with 22 the year before and 17 in 2010.
Modesto detectives' caseload nearly doubled, from 14 last year to 23 this year.
The remaining three homicides were Turlock police cases. The most recent occurred in Turlock on Saturday night, when a 35-year-old man was shot to death outside a home.
Detectives investigated several high-profile cases, such as the slaying of three people inside their east Modesto home in March and the murders of a deputy and a locksmith in April.
Edward Reinig, 31, Alyxandria Tellez, 19, and David Siebels, 16, were shot to death inside a two-story house in the 700 block of North McClure Road near Creekside Golf Course on March 3.
No one has been charged with their deaths, but three people have been arrested on suspicion of accessory to murder in connection with harboring, concealing or aiding "people of interest" in the homicide, including the former boyfriend of the one person who survived the attacks inside the McClure home.
Richard Garcia and his friend Armando Osegueda are charged with torture in connection with an assault against Garcia's girlfriend a little more than a month before the shootings. Modesto police are investigating a possible connection between the two cases.
A month later, a sheriff's deputy and a locksmith were shot while serving an eviction in Modesto police's jurisdiction.
Bob Paris and locksmith Glendon Engert were gunned down by Jim Richard Ferrario, who shot the men through his security screen door.
Ferrario shot himself at the end of an 11-hour standoff as flames engulfed his home.
Sheriff's Department homicide detectives worked their own investigation into their colleague's death, and Sheriff Adam Christianson commissioned an independent evaluation of the murders, as well as the traffic death of crime scene technician Mary Donahou.
Four days after the murders, a sheriff's deputy and a Turlock police officer each shot and killed suspects in separate incidents within hours of each other. Four more officer-involved shootings happened in the following months, one more each from Turlock and the Sheriff's Department and two by Modesto police.
All of the officer-involved shootings are reflected in the 47 homicides in 2012 except one by Turlock police that happened in Merced County.
Also, an off-duty U.S. Department of Defense officer shot and killed his friend at O'Malley's Bar in Modesto in July. Three months later, he was charged with murder.
The great majority of the people killed, 83 percent, died from gunshot wounds. In the two homicides Modesto police determined were self-defense, a knife was used.
The homicides committed maliciously were motivated by drugs, gangs and relationship issues, and some were committed for unexplainable reasons.
A 31-year-year-old Modesto woman was arrested in February in the murder of the 18-month-old girl she was baby-sitting.
No other young children were killed this year, but about a half-dozen victims were teenagers.
Local officials say homicides are an unpredictable crime and there is no particular reason for the gradual increase over the past three years.
And while Modesto's homicide total nearly doubled in one year, it paled in comparison with Stockton's 71. The number far surpassed the city's previous record of 58 homicides the year before. Detectives from other units of the Stockton Police Department were called in to assist on investigations during a 51-hour period in October when eight people were killed. The California Highway Patrol started helping Stockton police patrol high-crime areas in the city shortly after that.
A Modesto man was the victim of Stockton's most recent homicide on Thursday.
Bee staff writer Erin Tracy can be reached at email@example.com or (209)578-2366. Follow her on Twitter, @ModestoBeeCrime.
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