MOUNT CARMEL — A convicted felon questioned in the shooting of Salicia Yost was allegedly texting the Milton woman just minutes before she was shot in the head, according to a police affidavit.
Yost and Rafael Anthony Diroche Jr. made contact through several cell phone calls and text messages, and his cell phone number matched a contact in Yost’s cell phone listed as “Rafy,” Trooper Kevin Kearney wrote in the affidavit filed Monday at the office of Magisterial District Judge Hugh A. Jones.
They were texting about meeting up and specifically spoke of “being on Irish Valley Road” minutes before Yost was found by a passerby about 5:30 a.m. Saturday alone and behind the wheel of a 2013 Chevy Sonic that had crashed into a snow pile along the roadway, the affidavit states.
There is no indication if it was Yost or Diroche who mentioned Irish Valley Road in the text messages.
Yost, 20, remained in critical condition Monday at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, according to a hospital spokesman.
She was already in an ambulance bound for the hospital at 5:38 a.m. Saturday when Troopers Justin Roboschil and James Yankovich were assigned to investigate the crash.
Hospital physicians discovered the gunshot wound on the left side of Yost’s head, and police began to investigate the incident as an attempted homicide.
Her wound was consistent with a small-caliber handgun.
Ambulance personnel looked at Yost’s Samsung cell phone. A GPS function showed that she had recently left a location to which she had been directed. The affidavit does not specify the location.
Investigators returned about 12:40 p.m. Saturday to the scene of the crash, located about 100 yards from the tunnel just of Route 61, three miles north of Shamokin.
The investigation subsequently shifted to Mount Carmel where, at about 4:45 p.m., Diroche and Esteven Rafael Soto were detained outside a South Poplar Street apartment building and later arrested on gun and drug charges.
Diroche was allegedly found in possession of a small-caliber revolver and a cell phone when approached by police officers. He did not have a concealed weapons permit, police said.
A search warrant was executed on Diroche’s apartment at 250 S. Poplar St., Apt. 3. Police said two additional revolvers, along with heroin, cocaine and marijuana packaged for resale, were found inside a bedroom allegedly occupied by Soto.
Diroche has a felony conviction in Massachusetts, and Soto has one in New York state. Neither are permitted to carry a gun, police said.
Kearney wrote in the affidavit that the circumstances surrounding the shooting remain unknown.
Diroche, 28, remained jailed Monday in Snyder County Prison, Selinsgrove. He’s charged with felony counts of persons not to possess firearms and firearms not to be carried without a license.
Soto, 30, of 1752 Walton Ave., 6A, Bronx, N.Y., is charged with three felony counts of possession with intent to deliver a controlled substance, one felony count of persons not to possess firearms, and three misdemeanor counts of possession of controlled substances. He was still held Monday at Northumberland County Prison, Sunbury.
Both are held on $250,000 cash bail.
Neither man is charged with shooting Yost and no other arrests have been made related to the case.
Trooper Matthew Burrows, state police public information officer, said Monday the investigation has included the questioning of several other individuals.
Warrants that had been served in the case are sealed, Burrows said.