Another person has been charged in connection with the death of 27-year-old Army Pfc. Brandon S. Rosecrans in May, according to an arrest affidavit for the alleged killing.
Estrellita H. Falcon, 37, is accused of helping Brandon M. Olivares, 28, after he allegedly killed the Fort Hood soldier. Falcon is charged with the unauthorized use of a vehicle and hindering the apprehension and prosecution of Rosecrans’ killer, according to Bell County Jail records.
An affidavit details Rosecrans’ alleged killing, which the document said stemmed from an argument over the sale price of a gun. The affidavit alleges that Olivares shot Rosecrans at close range while he slept in his Jeep.
Rosecrans’ 2016 Jeep Renegade was found by police “completely engulfed in flames” off-road in a wooded area near Fuller Lane in Harker Heights, Texas, on the morning of May 18, the affidavit stated. The Jeep was roughly three miles from where Rosecrans’ body was found.
Video surveillance reviewed by detectives showed the Jeep entering the neighborhood where Rosecrans’ body was discovered at roughly 7:16 a.m. May 18, and leaving the area about five minutes later.
After the fire was extinguished, the fire marshal found a bullet hole in the back-passenger door. The front passenger seat was reclined almost all the way.
The Dallas County medical examiner determined Rosecrans’ cause of death as “homicidal violence,” the affidavit stated. The autopsy revealed he sustained four gunshot wounds and “dense stippling” was found at the wounds’ entrances, leading the detectives to believe the shots were made close to the skin.
A search warrant was obtained for Rosecrans’ cell phone, which showed he had been in touch with Olivares on the night of May 17 and the morning of May 18. Rosecrans’ acquaintances confirmed this and a search warrant was obtained for Olivares’ cell phone. Detectives cross-referenced the cellular GPS data from both phones and found that the two men’s phones “pinged” in the same key locations on the morning of the murder and the night before.
A witness who reported the Jeep on fire also spotted two people coming down a hill leading back to the already burning vehicle. The witness called out to the two people, but they changed directions and departed the scene.
A photo sent from Olivares’ cell phone and obtained by police also showed a hand holding a 9mm Ruger. The hand had tattoos that matched those of Olivares, according to detectives, and the background of the photo was of Olivares’ home.
Olivares admitted to detectives on June 18 that the photo was of him holding the firearm, the affidavit stated. The photo was for a gun sale he had “middle manned” on May 17 for $300, Olivares said.
Detectives had earlier obtained a warrant and searched Olivares’ home on June 4, finding a burned Jeep key in a firepit in his backyard.
“We’re getting an outside look to help us to get to those root causes and understand them,” said Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy.
In an interview with an Army CID agent, Olivares told several different stories that did not match the GPS data obtained from his cell phone or the items found in the Jeep and on Rosecrans’ person, according to the affidavit. One story was that he and Falcon had been with Rosecrans to purchase illegal narcotics prior to his death, but they left him alive and alone. Police said no drugs were found in the car or with Rosecrans’ body.
Olivares said that the last time he saw Rosecrans, the now-deceased soldier was on top of the hill and alive, then he switched the story to say that another person killed Rosecrans in front of him. Cell phone data from that individual’s cell phone showed he was not with Rosecrans and Olivares on the night and morning in question.
Two more interviews with Olivares were conducted, and in each one, he said that Falcon had nothing to do with the death, though he did say she was in the Jeep.
One person who spoke with Falcon after the alleged murder said that Falcon told him Olivares and Rosecrans had a dispute revolving around the price of a gun sale and that Olivares wanted more money than Rosecrans was willing to pay.
“Olivares was scared to shoot Rosecrans and Falcon had called Olivares a ‘punk’ for being scared,” the affidavit reads. “Falcon told [the third-party] that Olivares waited to shoot the man, Rosecrans, until he fell asleep.”
Olivares is being held on a $1 million bail after being charged with murder last week. Falcon is being held on a $100,000 bail.
Rosecrans served as a quartermaster with the 3rd Armored Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division. He had been with the unit since November 2018. He joined the Army in May 2018 and his home of record is listed as Kimberling City, Missouri, according to Fort Hood officials.
During a visit to Fort Hood last week, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy acknowledged that there has been a high rate of violent crime, including murder, near the post.
“The numbers are high here,” McCarthy said. “They are the highest, in most cases, for sexual assault and harassment and murders for our entire formation — the U.S. Army.”
An independent command climate review will be conducted at Fort Hood in the coming weeks, staffed by five civilian experts, to assess the situation at the post and identify “root causes associated with the rise of felonies, violent acts [and] to better understand why this is happening at this installation,” McCarthy added.