police car

Two people were fatally stabbed in Deltona in what the Volusia County Sheriff’s Office said was a domestic murder-suicide on Oct. 17.

The Sheriff’s Office responded to a 911 call around 6:17 p.m. reporting a stabbing at 2742 Gramercy Drive. 

Upon arrival, Byanca Cruz Tovar, 26, and Oscar Mercado Salazar, 31, were both found unresponsive, the Sheriff’s Office said. Cruz was pronounced deceased on the scene, and Mercado was pronounced deceased an hour later at the hospital.

The three children residing in the home were not injured.

According to a Sheriff’s Office press release, the 10-year-old son of Cruz told detectives he witnessed Mercado, his stepfather, stab his mother after an argument. The boy said Mercado attempted to stab him, too, but was unsuccessful.

The boy went to a neighbor’s house for help. After calling 911, the neighbors found both adults unresponsive in their homes with sharp-force injuries. 

According to the Sheriff’s Office, the initial investigation found Cruz and Mercado were arguing over Mercado’s discipline of one of the three children before Mercado stabbed Cruz and then stabbed himself.

No prior law-enforcement calls were made from or about the residence during the five-month time frame in which the family had been living in the house. However, the Sheriff’s Office says detectives learned arguments were overheard from the home on multiple occasions, though none of them caused any calls or reports to law enforcement.

The Sheriff’s Office informed the public that Mercado was previously charged with aggravated battery on a pregnant victim in Orlando in 2016. Cruz was also the victim in that case.

According to court documents, Mercado used the name Albertico Garza for several years. It was found to be a stolen identity he assumed after arriving from Mexico. Cruz was a legal U.S. immigrant.

Currently, the Sheriff’s Office is continuing to work with its partner agencies to ensure the children and other family members have access to available resources.

For others experiencing domestic violence: In Volusia County, the Beacon Center provides a 24-hour domestic violence hotline at 386-255-2102. Services include emergency shelter, financial independence training and programs for children. Visit www.mybeaconcenter.com for more information.

Florida’s statewide, 24/7 domestic violence hotline is 800-500-1119.

The National Domestic Violence Hotline is also available 24/7 in all languages at 800-799-SAFE (7233). You can also text “START” to 88788 or visit www.thehotline.org.


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