Affidavit: Victim, felon texted just minutes before shooting
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. The vehicle had an Ohio license plate.
There is no indication in the affidavit if it was Yost or Diroche who mentioned Irish Valley Road in the texts.
Yost, 20, remained in critical condition Monday at Geisinger Medical Center, Danville, according to a hospital spokesman.
Diroche and Esteven Rafael Soto were each questioned in the attempted homicide investigation. Although both have been charged with gun and drug offenses, neither man is charged with shooting Yost.
Trooper Matthew Burrows, state police public information officer, said Monday neither Diroche nor Soto have not been ruled out as a suspect, but noted several other individuals are being questioned as part of the investigation.
Warrants that had been served in the case are sealed, Burrows said.
Shot in head
Yost 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 by the GPS. The affidavit does not specify the location.
From Irish Valley to Mount Carmel
Investigators returned to the scene of the crash about 12:40 p.m. Saturday, located about 100 yards from the tunnel just off Route 61 three miles north of Shamokin.
The investigation subsequently shifted to Mount Carmel where, at about 4:45 p.m., Diroche and 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.
The circumstances surrounding the shooting remain unknown, according to the affidavit.
Jail on gun, drug charges
Diroche, 28, remains 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.
Preliminary hearings for the two are scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Feb. 19 at Jones' office.