South Toledo man sentenced to prison for lying to investigators about woman's death

·3 min read

Jul. 29—A Lucas County Common Pleas Court judge sentenced a South Toledo man to 2 1/2 years in prison for repeatedly lying to investigators about his knowledge of the death of a restaurateur.

Bryan Morales-Rivero, 24, of the 3600 block of Dean Avenue, was found guilty by a jury on July 1 of obstructing justice, a third-degree felony, for lying to Toledo police while they were investigating the death of Emilia Silguero-Guerrero, 36, who co-owned Taqueria La Autentica Mihocana, with her boyfriend, Lorenzo Morales, 44. The two men are father and son.

"This is not just a typical obstructing justice charge. It involves efforts by you to mislead law enforcement about the nature of their investigation," Judge Eric Marks said on Thursday. "It resulted in the delay of charges being filed against your father. Quite frankly, his case hasn't gone to trial yet, and your actions may have had a direct impact on whether or not your father is found guilty of this charge.

"That's something you'll have to live with long beyond any jurisdiction this court has over you," the judge added.

Judge Eric Marks sentenced him to 2 1/2 years in prison, but Morales-Rivero receives credit for the 457 days he has spent incarcerated at the Lucas County jail, so he will serve approximately 455 days in the state institution.

Following his sentence, Morales-Rivero will be transferred to the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and he will likely be deported to Mexico, his defense attorney Sarah Anjum said on Thursday.

Mr. Morales also appeared in court on Thursday for two alternating counts of murder and one count of felonious assault, all with gun specifications, for allegedly killing his girlfriend. His trial date is scheduled for Nov. 15.

Judge Marks referenced a presentence investigation report for Morales-Rivero on Thursday in which indicated he wished to go back to a prior statement to police.

In an initial interview with police in August, 2019, Morales-Rivero denied any knowledge of the circumstances when he returned to the family's residence in the 200 block of Field Street and found her fatally stabbed and shot. Instead, he tried to implicate a neighbor who was always asking for money.

With no progress on the murder investigation after nearly eight months, Toledo police asked Morales-Rivero and his father to go to the Safety Building for another interview.

At that time, Morales-Rivero told police the couple was arguing that morning. He went outside to his vehicle and when he returned to the home, Ms. Silguero-Guerro was dead.

In March, 2021, Morales-Rivero wished to recant that storyline, claiming he was under duress during the second interview. During the trial, he maintained that he did not know who killed Ms. Silguero-Guerrero, who he considered his stepmother.

Yet, during an interview for the presentence investigation — between the verdict and sentencing hearing — Morales-Rivero again wished to resort to his second interview statement, claiming his father killed Ms. Silguero-Guerrero while he was outside of the home.

"I don't know what the State of Ohio, what Ms. Silguero's family, or frankly, what I'm supposed to believe at this point when you've offered so many different versions of what happened on that day," Judge Marks said on Thursday. "You testified at trial something completely different than what you stated to the probation department when you were under no obligation to make any statement."

"The only thing I want to say is I'm very sorry," Morales-Rivero said through the interpretation of a Spanish-speaking translator. "I made the mistake of trusting the wrong person."

Judge Marks asked if that "wrong person" was his own father.

"Yes," Morales-Rivero responded.

Both prosecutors and members of Ms. Silguero-Guerrero's family asked for the maximum sentence of three years.

"She welcomed him in and gave him a chance," her oldest son, Guillermo Arias Silguero, said on Thursday. "The way that it was repaid — there's no words."

First Published July 29, 2021, 2:55pm

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