Elderly Widow Murdered in Cookie Baking Tragedy: 3 Arrested in Murder-for-Hire Plot

Montecito, California – A vibrant 96-year-old widow, Violet Evelyn Alberts, was tragically killed in a murder-for-hire scheme at her home, where she was found dead by her caretaker on May 27, 2022. Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown described Alberts as a cherished figure in her tight-knit community, known for her warm demeanor, social nature, and active engagement despite her age.

According to Sheriff Brown, after responding to the scene, deputies discovered Alberts deceased in her bed with ingredients laid out for baking cookies, a heartbreaking sight considering she had been preparing to celebrate her upcoming birthday. She was asphyxiated, and her death was ruled a homicide, labeled as a “particularly heinous case of murder” by Brown.

Investigations revealed that the circumstances surrounding Alberts’s death were intertwined with financial exploitation, with Pauline Macareno being accused of taking advantage of Alberts’s vulnerability by orchestrating fraudulent transactions and entities to control the widow’s assets unlawfully. Macareno, along with two other suspects – Ricardo MartinDelCampo and Henry Rostomyan – were implicated in a murder-for-hire plot targeting Alberts.

After being sentenced to six years in prison, Macareno’s accomplices, MartinDelCampo and Rostomyan, are currently held without bail on charges of murder and conspiracy to murder in connection to Alberts’s death. However, Harry Basmadjian, another individual involved in the scheme, faced a life-threatening medical emergency while in federal custody for an unrelated charge.

The tragic end to Violet Evelyn Alberts’s life serves as a reminder of the vulnerability of the elderly to exploitation and abuse. As the investigation into her death continues, a web of deceit and manipulation unravels, shedding light on the darker aspects of human nature that led to the untimely demise of a beloved member of the Montecito community.

The arrests made in connection to Alberts’s murder highlight the commitment of law enforcement to seek justice for the victims of such heinous crimes. The case serves as a cautionary tale about the importance of vigilance and protection of the elderly against financial exploitation and malicious intent. In memory of Violet Evelyn Alberts, her community mourns the loss of a vibrant soul, resonating with the pain of a life cut short by greed and deceit.