In the wake of news about Fresno’s deputy police chief Keith Foster being charged with conspiracy to distribute heroin, another story was being shared widely on social media about the Fresno police department by the daughter of late Fresno police lieutenant Jose Moralez.
Moralez, who was a cop in Fresno for 30 years, was found dead in 2004 not far from the home of the Chief of Police, Jerry Dyer.
In 2004, Dyer suspended Moralez for allegedly violating department policy, and took his badge and firearm from him. November 9, 2004, Moralez went to Dyer’s home to confront him after working out in his garage with his 13-year-old son. That was the last time anyone saw Jose Moralez alive.
It was reported at the time that a motorist saw Jose face down, near a truck, with an alleged self-inflicted gunshot wound to his chest.
Apparent in a statement made by then City Manager, Daniel G. Hobbs, not everyone believed Jose’s death was a suicide:
The family of Jose Moralez accuse Dyer and fellow police officer, Al Maroney, of murdering Jose and covering it up.
In Febuary of 2006, Jose’s widow, Yolanda Moralez, filed a lawsuit against the City of Fresno, Jerry Dyer, Al Maroney, Lt. Art Alvarado, Lt. Burt Farrah, and Sgt. Richard Mendoz of the Fresno Police Department. Yolanda is also a former Fresno police officer.
The complaint alleged:
“Defendants’ contribution to Lieutenant Moralez’s death was in
anticipatory retaliation for his expressed intention to disclose sensitive information and such retaliation took the form of intentional noncompliance with the law and procedure and overt misconduct directly related to Lieutenant Moralez’s death.”
According to Yolanda, the family’s attorney failed to appear at hearings and mysteriously disappeared for 3 months, resulting in the case being dismissed.
“I was staking out his office, because I was notified that I had missed a court date, and I hadn’t heard from him in months. I spotted him going into his office one day, and went in and asked him; ‘Did they get to you?’ he was silent.” -Yolanda said.
She also spoke of perjury: “Eight men were willing to perjure themselves to have this case buried.”-she said.
The accusations circulating on social media were originally written by Jose’s step-son, Dustin, and posted on craigslist; and later in a comment thread on indybay.org in 2013.
“Based upon information and belief, I, and countless others – believe that Jerry Dyer and Al Maroney murdered my Step-Father and that a cover up has ensued. No doubt, JOSE MORALEZ’s DEATH WAS IN NO WAY, SHAPE OR FORM – A SUICIDE.”
“Why was the motorist not identified?”
“Why was the motorists cell phone immediately disconnected thereafter?”
“Why did the City of Fresno refuse, and sue, to keep Jose Moralez’s cell phone records private, when they are a matter of public record?”
He concludes the post with a message to Dyer, Maroney, and coincidentally, Keith Foster.
Message to Jerry Dyer and Al Maroney – and to all others who know what really happened (listen closely Keith Foster):
“What is done in secret, shall be revealed openly…the Truth shall set you free.”
Jose’s daughter, Kaelyn Moralez spoke to us about the night her father never came home:
“It was a normal day, nothing real out of the ordinary, then suddenly he got a phone call and said that he had to leave and that was the last anyone seen of him. I know my father did not commit suicide.”
Kaelyn said she decided to bring it up now because of the recent arrest of Keith Foster.
I felt like the situation was or could be similar to my dads. My dads “crime” was nothing near close to what Foster did but both being good friends of Dyer I thought he could end up like my dad.
I’m hoping that now is the time we will finally see him [Dyer] exposed for what he really is and what he has done to my family along with other families. 10 years is enough and it needs to end now.
Dialogue with retired Fresno police officer, and former detective Yolanda Moralez reveals a very sinister, and plagued police department.
As a former Narcotics Officer, Yolanda Moralez explained how police officers routinely get away with a host of different crimes, or are at times investigated, but not much else is done.
“Playing golf on duty, stealing gas, robbing immigrants that know very little of the law, and get very few resources… This is not the first investigation into Kieth Foster.” She revealed. “A Cardlock investigation into gas theft went all the way up to internal affairs some time ago.”
Yolanda also explained why she thinks she was ousted from the Narcotics Division. Her first language being Spanish, as such, she did interpretations on scene. This is her report of how “not being a team player”, got her kicked off Narcotics:
“I was at the scene, interpreting for a Mexican National. He gave me his copy of a receipt for the sale of a trailer he had just delivered for $15,000 he had. The Sgt. and the Canine Officer on the scene at the time filed no report, and kept the money.” Ms. Moralez paused, “I just wanted to be a cop.”
“Jerry Dyer lived right across the street from me, my husband and he started off very good friends. There were 2 instances, one in ‘87 another in ‘89, that Jerry Dyer was dropped off at his home early in the morning by underage girls, Jerry still drunk came over to my house. He could not be taken home to reveal his affairs with young girls to his wife.”
Yolanda went into a suspicious memory from her police career:
Before I was kicked off Narcotics. I was concerned with a known [confidential informant] walking around the neighborhood in front of our houses. I confronted Dyer about this, and he assured me not to worry. A few weeks later I found that my personal firearm had gone missing from my home. Only a few nights after that I parked an unmarked car in my driveway overnight, and came out the next morning to find that the trunk had been burglarized. Dyer had also come under heat for a missing AR-15 he claims he accidentally left on the trunk of his car. Sometime later, after having been kicked off Narcotics, I got a call from the Narcotics Sgt. Pat Jackson. He broke down crying and would not incriminate himself, but basically admitted he knew something, or did something and he was really sorry… None of the guns or equipment was ever recovered.”
Fast forward to 2004 where she discusses the death of her husband:
“My husband was found dead in the field across the street from Dyer’s home. He was found with a gunshot wound to the chest, which was reported by an anonymous passer-by.” She continued on the autopsy report. “My husband was right handed, and the glock they found was to the LEFT of his body. He also had a large gash above his left eye.”
She also said that Fresno County Coroner Dr. David Hadden was suspicious of the scenario himself.
“Dr. Hadden told me; ‘Yolanda I know Jose didn’t kill himself, and do you know why? Because as a county coroner for over 30 years. I have never had a male suicide case with a gunshot wound in the chest.’ Also,” Yolanda added, “The autopsy reported my husband as circumcised, I can assure you, I was married to him and had his children. He was not circumcised!”
She concludes the conversation:
“It’s hard when you have all these entities against you. You don’t really have to be a detective to see. This was all covered up. Getting grief from my family and friends for not doing anything, when I really don’t know whom to trust anymore. Do you expect me to turn to the police?”
Jose was known for his efforts in the community and took pride in coordinating and instructing at the Hispanic Residents Academy; an organization that worked to improve the working relationship between the police and residents. He was also active with the Boys and Girls Club and other community projects throughout his career.
He wrote papers 15 years ago on peace officer standards & training that explored using non-lethal weaponry opposed to lethal force.
To many, Moralez was a good cop, and now, a martyr of Dyer’s corrupt police department.