DELTONA, FL – Volusia sheriff’s detectives are investigating a fatal stabbing in Deltona that appears to have been a domestic murder-suicide. Deputies responded to a call around 6:17 p.m. reporting the stabbing on Gramercy Drive. Upon arrival, they found a man and woman in the house unresponsive.
During the investigation, the 10-year-old son of Byanca Cruz advised detectives that he witnessed Mercado, his stepfather, stab his mother following an argument. The boy indicated Mercado tried to stab him, too, but was unsuccessful.
The boy ran to a neighbor’s house for help. The neighbor responded and found both Cruz and Mercado unresponsive in their home with apparent stab wounds. Cruz was pronounced deceased on scene while Mercado was transported to the hospital with a faint pulse, then pronounced deceased about an hour later.
Additional interviews are scheduled while the initial investigation indicates Cruz and Mercado were arguing over Mercado’s discipline of one of the children when Mercado attacked Cruz with a knife.
According to authorities, the family had been living on Gramercy Drive for about five months, and there were no prior law enforcement calls there during that timeframe. During this investigation, detectives learned arguments were overheard from the house on more than one occasion, but none of them resulted in any calls or reports to law enforcement.
Mercado was previously charged with aggravated battery on a pregnant victim in Orlando in 2016. The victim in that case was also Cruz.
Mercado was using the name Albertico Garza for several years. That was determined to be a stolen identity he assumed after arriving in the U.S. from Mexico. Using birth certificate records and interviews with family members, detectives determined his true identity was Oscar Mercado. The victim, Byanca Cruz, was a legal U.S. resident alien.
The Sheriff’s Office is working with partner agencies to ensure the children and family members have access to all available resources.