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One man in custody, second still sought in mysterious murder of Central Coast teen

Bill Oxford

First responders showing up at a reported traffic accident in the Santa Ynez Valley discovered it was a murder. Arrests come three years later.

It was first reported as a traffic accident. Then, first responders discovered that the incident on a remote Santa Barbara County road was actually a murder. Now, one man is behind bars, and a second is being sought for the death of the 17-year-old boy.

The body of Santiago Maldonado Martinez was found in March of 2021, on Foxen Canyon Road in the Santa Ynez Valley. Detectives determined it was a murder, but aren’t saying how the teen died.

Adding to the mystery was the fact the teen was from Shandon, a small San Luis Obispo County community about 70 miles from where the body was found.

Now, authorities say Fabian Solano and Hilario Solano have been charged with killing the teen. Fabian Solano entered a not guilty plea to a murder charge. Hilario Solano is still at large.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral.