Moreno Valley women arrested for casino robbery and murder of woman, 84

TEMECULA — Two Moreno Valley women were arrested after officials connected them to the recent murder of an elderly Long Beach woman at a Temecula casino. The 84-year-old victim died four days after she was found beaten and unconscious in a bathroom at Pechanga Casino at 45000 Pechanga Parkway.

One of the pair arrested for the woman’s murder was apprehended after a Hemet PD motor officer stopped her while jaywalking in Hemet on Florida Ave. While conducting a records check on the subject, the officer learned she was wanted for murder and had a $1 million warrant for her arrest.


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Deputies from the Southwest Sheriff’s Station were dispatched to the casino at 8 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 31, after receiving a report of a woman who was found beaten and unconscious in one of the casino’s bathrooms, Riverside Sheriff’s Sgt. Steve Brosche has since reported. 

“When deputies arrived at the casino they discovered the female adult, later identified as Afaf Anis Assad, an 84-year-old from Long Beach, may have been the victim of an assault,”Brosche explained. “Assad was transported to a local hospital and admitted with serious injuries.”

Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit investigators arrested Candace Townsel and Kimesha Williams, both of Moreno Valley, after connecting them to the murder of an 84-year-old Long Beach woman at Temecula’s Pechango Casino. RSO booking photos

Because Assad appeared to have been the victim of a crime, Southwest Station investigators were assigned to investigate the circumstances that led to Assad’s hospitalization.

“Investigators who had also been closely monitoring Assad’s medical status, learned she would likely die from her injuries,” at which time Sheriff’s Central Homicide Unit investigators were notified and ultimately assumed the investigation, according to Brosche.

On Sept. 4, as their investigation was continuing CHU members learned the victim succumbed to her injuries and passed away.

During their investigation, CHU personnel worked closely with Pechanga Department of Public Safety officials to identify two women believed to be involved in the crime. 

The women were identified as Kimesha Monae Williams, 35, and Candace Tai Townsel, 39, both of Moreno Valley.

Based on their investigation, CHU begn searching for the pair believed involved in Assad’s robbery and murder.

Candace Townsel was arrested in Hemet after an HPD motor officer stopped her for jaywalking across Florida Ave. Gary Rainwater/Hemet Valley Incidents photo

Authorities ultimately arrested Williams on Perris Rd. in Perris and Townsel was apprehended after a Hemet PD officer detained her for jaywalking across Hemet’s Florida Ave. with another subject.

Jail records indicate Williams was booked on suspicion of first-degree murder, first and second-degree robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, causing the death of an elderly person, and conspiracy to commit a felony. She was also charged with four prior prison enhancements.

Townsel was booked into jail on suspicion of murder, first-degree robbery, assault with a deadly weapon, elder abuse, causing the death of an elder, and conspiracy to commit a felony. She was also booked on a misdemeanor shoplifting charge.

Both women remain held in custody without bail and were scheduled to be arraigned at Murrieta’s Southwest Justice Center, this morning, Sept. 9.

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to contact Investigator Gray of the Southwest Station at (951) 696-3000, or Investigator Dickey of the Central Homicide Unit at (951) 955-2777. Callers can refer to incident file number SW192430013 and can remain anonymous. Citizens may also submit a tip using the Sheriff’s Homicide Tipline online form.

Gary Rainwater/Hemet Valley Incidents video

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Gary Rainwater/Hemet Valley Incidents photos

Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 48, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he writes or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, (the now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Anza Valley Outlook, and Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 29 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.


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