San Diego parents who vanished days before Christmas are found dead in car in murder-suicide: Chilling Ring camera footage shows them leaving home before husband shot his estranged wife and then turned the gun on himself

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Written By Maya Cantina
  • Melissa, 45, and Johnny Soto, 52, went missing from their home in the San Ysidro district of San Diego on Wednesday, December 20 
  • San Diego police announced Wednesday that they had conducted a search with Border Patrol and found a car ‘associated with’ the disappearance
  • They did not identify the bodies, only to say they were a 52-year-old Hispanic man and 45-year-old Filipina female married couple ‘living separately’ 

A San Diego couple who vanished days before Christmas have been found dead in a car in what’s being investigated as a murder-suicide after disturbing Ring camera footage showed the night they disappeared. 

Melissa, 45, and Johnny Soto, 52, went missing from their home in the San Ysidro district of San Diego on Wednesday, December 20. The couple, who had been married for 20 years and have three adult children, recently separated. 

San Diego police announced Wednesday that they had conducted a search with US Customs and Border Patrol and found a car ‘associated with’ the disappearance.

They did not identify the bodies, only to say they were a 52-year-old Hispanic man and 45-year-old Filipina female married couple ‘living separately.’ 

Authorities believe their deaths to be a murder-suicide, with the man shooting the woman before killing himself. 

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Melissa and Johnny Soto disappeared from their home on Wednesday, and their three kids are now asking the public for help. The pair, seen at left, recently separated and their relationship was rocky, but were last seen leaving Johnny’s San Ysidro home together

Ring camera Footage captured last week added to the uncertainty, when it showed Melissa¿s car pull into the couple's driveway the night they disappeared. It begins at 8:51 pm, and within an hour-and-a-half, the mom-of-three's car exits the driveway only to repark in reverse

Ring camera Footage captured last week added to the uncertainty, when it showed Melissa’s car pull into the couple’s driveway the night they disappeared. It begins at 8:51 pm, and within an hour-and-a-half, the mom-of-three’s car exits the driveway only to repark in reverse

In Ring camera footage, Melissa is seen pulling into the driveway of her estranged husband’s home about 8.51pm on the night they disappeared, while Johnny, who had been at a work holiday party, is seen returning in his truck about an hour later.

The couple’s son, Vincent, said his father then sat down with him to watch TV. A few minutes later, however, Vincent was asked by his father to leave the home. 

Within the next 15 minutes, Melissa’s car is seen exiting the driveway – only to repark in reverse. A neighbor’s surveillance camera shows the garage door and Melissa’ car’s trunk open about six minutes later, and John’s truck is nowhere to be found.

The couple’s kids are now worried sick, after Melissa left behind her wallet and other personal belongings.

Vincent, who was the last to see the couple, told NBC San Diego that it ‘felt like a normal night’. 

‘[My dad] was just sitting here watching TV like he always does. And my parents, they always talk. 

‘He asked me, ‘Hey, Vinny, can you leave for a minute? We’re going to talk. So I left the house, not assuming anything,’ he said.

Vincent said he left the home for about an hour-and-a-half before he got a text from his dad saying that they had left, and the coast was clear. 

A different neighbor's surveillance camera shows the garage door and car trunk both open six minutes later. Nothing was left inside. Johnny's truck, meanwhile, is missing, and footage appears to show him returning from a holiday party for work

A different neighbor’s surveillance camera shows the garage door and car trunk both open six minutes later. Nothing was left inside. Johnny’s truck, meanwhile, is missing, and footage appears to show him returning from a holiday party for work

Melissa - seen here with her three kids - joined him for a conversation at the home after, but neither have been seen since

Melissa – seen here with her three kids – joined him for a conversation at the home after, but neither have been seen since

Vincent, left, was the last person to see the pair, and recalled to NBC San Diego Tuesday, how he left the his parents' home for about an hour and a half so they could be alone - before returning and getting a text from his dad saying they¿d gone and the coast was clear

Vincent, left, was the last person to see the pair, and recalled to NBC San Diego Tuesday, how he left the his parents’ home for about an hour and a half so they could be alone – before returning and getting a text from his dad saying they’d gone and the coast was clear

However, neither he nor his sisters Alexia and Elise have heard from him since. The couple also failed to show up to their respective places of work.

A search has since ensued, with the siblings saying it’s not like their parents to leave and not come back.   

‘Him and my mom, they like to talk and get together,’ Vincent told ABC 10 – while also revealing the couple had a somewhat rocky relationship and recently separated after 20 years.

‘So while they were talking, they like to go take the truck,’ he continued, citing how it was not out of the ordinary for the couple to take off in his dad’s silver Tacoma truck.

‘[Johnny] called me, he’s like, ‘Hey Vincent, we’re going go to the truck for a little bit,” he further remembered.

‘That’s the last time I heard from him.’

The family has since filed a report with the local police department, and so far, a week into their investigation, the surveillance camera clips serve as their only real clues. 

In them, Melissa’s car is seen pulling car pulls into the driveway at 8:51 p.m

Melissa Soto, last seen Wednesday, December 20

Johnny Soto, last seen Wednesday, December 20

The couple also failed to show up to the holiday party and their respective places of work after allegedly driving off

The family has since filed a report with the local police department, and so far, the surveillance camera clips serve as their only real clues

The family has since filed a report with the local police department, and so far, the surveillance camera clips serve as their only real clues

‘You can see someone getting out of car,’ neighbor Raymond Arzola said, citing the clip taken from a camera stationed at his nearby house. 

‘You could tell it’s most likely a man because of the jeans and the blue jacket,’ he added. ‘I usually see Johnny wear a blue jacket.’

Then at 10:19 p.m., Melissa’s car pulls out of the driveway and then reparks in reverse.

About 14 minutes later, that same man is seen getting into his silver Toyota after pulling off the parking maneuver in Melissa’s car – before driving off around 10:33pm.

In this clip, Melissa is noticeably absent, even as her car sits in the driveway for around 15 minutes.

‘My dad had his phone and his wallet, but my mom didn’t have her phone, wallet, or her keys,’ Alexia Soto, the eldest, said. 

‘Even though they were separated, there were like no issues between them at all,’ she added of the pair’s strained relationship, which she and her siblings said took a turn in July.

‘They were still in contact,’ she said, citing how her mom would still regularly visit the couple’s old house.

‘They still talked. She would come over [to Johnny’s house] and talk.’

DailyMail.com has reached out to the San Diego Police Department for an update on their investigation. 

DailyMail.com, meanwhile, has reached out to the San Diego Police Department for an update on their investigation, as relatives revealed Melissa had left behind her phone and wallet

DailyMail.com, meanwhile, has reached out to the San Diego Police Department for an update on their investigation, as relatives revealed Melissa had left behind her phone and wallet

The footage released by the family further fuels their uncertainty, as it shows who many believe to be Johnny moving around the scene without his wife, and someone seemingly fiddling with her vehicle before Johnny’s truck takes off.

Aunt Christina Sandoval further noted on Tuesday how the couple ‘left with no clothes,’ telling the local NBC affiliate ‘[they] left with nothing. All his clothes that he wears normally, like the sweats there in the bedroom. 

‘Her phone was left here. Her wallet was left here,’ she continued, as the search for the couple on Wednesday continued. 

‘Her keys were left here and then his phone was turned off about 15 to 20 minutes after he left here.’

Despite the array of ominous clue, the siblings told the news stations that they are staying strong. 

‘We’ve always had like a really strong, like, sibling dynamic,’ Alexia, 23, told NBC 7.

‘No matter what happens, we’re always making sure we’re watching out for each other.’

Sandoval, meanwhile, has started a GoFundMe to help with ‘groceries and any bills’ for the family as they search, and all three are pleading with the public to contact them or police with any leads that may help them find their parents.

Two of the sibling, meanwhile, left their mom and dad with an emotional message as cops continue to look, telling them to contact them as soon as possible if they are listening.

‘Even if they did go somewhere and plan to stay out for a while, at least message or call one of us to let us all know they are both ok,’ said Alexia.

Elise added: ‘And that we love them.’

Officers’ search, meanwhile, remains ongoing. Both of the Sotos have been declared missing persons. 

ᴀʀᴛɪᴄʟᴇ ꜱᴏᴜʀᴄᴇ

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