November 18 2019
PHILOMATH, Oregon - The friend of a 20-year-old Benton County man accused of fatally stabbing his ex-girlfriend and their young son says the couple had recently broken up as they struggled to balance work, college and childcare.
"They were always smiling and funny people, but they are people who have been living in high stress for a long time," Mark McGuire of Corvallis told the Gazette-Times newspaper. "They both had time constraints — they both had full-time school, a kid for both of them, work for both of them. They pretty much had three full-time jobs."
Gustavo David Martinez Aquepuncho is expected to be charged Monday with aggravated murder in the deaths of Kelsey Rozetta Baker, 19, and their 1-year-old son, Theo; it was not clear whether he had obtained a lawyer who could comment on the case.
Investigators have not released a timeline of the killings, but Martinez Aquepuncho was in custody by early Saturday morning after authorities found the bodies at a home south of Philomath, west of Corvallis. He was being held Sunday at the Benton County Jail.
Martinez Aquepuncho came to Oregon as an exchange student from Peru his junior year of high school, and the question of whether he would be able to obtain a permanent visa to remain in the country was another issue stressing the couple, McGuire said. They broke up about two weeks ago.
McGuire told the newspaper that Martinez Aquepuncho and Baker were two of his best friends, and the news was a terrible shock.
"When I heard Kelsey and Theo were dead, I thought it was some kind of mistake," he said.
Martinez Aquepuncho and Baker graduated from Philomath High School in 2009, he said. Both went on to study at Oregon State University, but Baker recently dropped out.
Benton County District Attorney John Haroldson said in a news release late Saturday that he expects to file aggravated murder charges on grounds that the crime involved more than one victim and that one of the victims was under the age of 14.
Martinez Aquepuncho's arraignment is scheduled for Monday afternoon in Benton County Circuit Court.
Photo: Gustavo David Martinez Aquepuncho with Kelsey Rozetta Baker, 19, and son Theo.