Straight-A student and her slain mom mourned as deputies blame blood-covered ex

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AIKEN, S.C. (WRDW/WAGT) – The victims in an Aiken County double homicide were a straight-A college student and her mother, who were found stabbed to death at their rural Aiken home.

That’s where deputies also discovered the student’s blood-covered ex-boyfriend, who’d called to report the deaths Thursday and ended up being charged as a suspect.

Cassandra Negrete, 23, is being mourned at the University of South Carolina Aiken, where she made the president’s list in spring with a 4.0 grade-point average. In January, the psychology major earned a $1,000 grant through the university for research under faculty mentor Adam Pazda on “Implicit Associations between Color and Extraversion.”

She and her mother lived at 217 Weyerhaeuser Road in rural Aiken.

That’s also where authorities believe they died.

The university issued this statement about the college student’s death:

We are deeply saddened to learn of the death of UofSC Aiken student Cassandra Negrete. Our campus community mourns her tragic loss. We send our heartfelt condolences to her family and all those who knew her.

Cassandra was an accomplished Psychology major, having been named to the President’s list for Spring 2020. Her faculty considered her to be a promising and dedicated student.

Our thoughts and prayers are with Cassandra’s family and friends, and classmates during this difficult time.

The Aiken County Sheriff’s Office said deputies were sent around 11:24 a.m. Thursday to the house after a 911 caller told dispatchers he was on the scene of a suspicious death.

A deputy arrived and was told by dispatchers that the caller was still on the line, according to an incident report from the sheriff’s agency that’s revealing new details about the case.

The officer asked the caller, Guillermo Diaz Jr., 23, of Aiken, to step outside and saw that he was “covered in blood” when he exited the home while talking on a phone, according to the report.

Deputies detained Diaz and searched the residence, where they found one unresponsive woman in the back bedroom on a bed, according to the report. She was identified as Veronica Negrete, 43, Cassandra’s mom.

The deputies then “located a vehicle in a hole in the rear of the residence and located a second unresponsive victim in the rear of the vehicle,” according to the report. That victim was Cassandra.

Both victims suffered stab wounds and will be autopsied Friday in Newberry, according to authorities.

Investigators have arrested Diaz and obtained warrants for two counts of murder. Additional charges are forthcoming, according to authorities.

Diaz was being treated at an area hospital for lacerations to his wrist and had not been booked into Aiken County jail as of Friday morning, according to jail records.

He’s Cassandra’s ex-boyfriend, according to Aiken County Sheriff’s Office Capt. Eric Abdullah.

A records check shows he has no criminal history in South Carolina or Richmond County, Ga.

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