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San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department

Press Release

DATE/TIME: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 / 4:00 P.M. 

INCIDENT: Arrest in 2011 Murder Investigation 

LOCATION: Apple Valley Police Station 

VICTIM: Rhonda McClain, 41, Apple Valley, California 

SUSPECT: Rafael Chavez, 49, Apple Valley, California


On Monday, March 7, 2011, at approximately 5:50 P.M., Rafael Chavez called 911 to report that he found his girlfriend Rhonda McClain submerged and unresponsive in their bathtub. 

First responders were suspicious of the circumstances and called homicide investigators to assist with the investigation. The autopsy revealed McClain had elevated levels of Diphenhydramine (Benadryl) in her system and the cause of death was probable drowning. 

On August 26, 2014, Detective Jerry Davenport and Sergeant John Gaffney interviewed Rafael Chavez. At the conclusion of the interview, Chavez was arrested and booked into the San Bernardino County High Desert Detention Center for McClain’s murder. 

The San Bernardino County Deputy District Attorney’s Office filed one count of murder against Chavez. 

Anyone with information regarding this investigation is urged to contact the Homicide Detail, Sergeant John Gaffney or Detective Jerry Davenport at (909) 387-3589. Callers wishing to remain anonymous are urged to call the We-tip Hotline at 1-800-78-CRIME (27463) or you may leave information on the We-Tip Hotline at 

Refer: Sergeant John Gaffney/ Detective Jerry Davenport 
Station: Homicide Detail
Phone No. (909) 387-3589 
Case No. 181101639 H-2011-016

John McMahon, Sheriff-Coroner

San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner Department

Sheriff’s Public Affairs Division

655 E. Third Street

San Bernardino, California 92415-0061

Telephone: (909) 387-3700

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