Eduardo Mercado Accused of Drowning Friend for Steering a Paddle Boat the Wrong Way

Eduardo Mercado is accused of drowning his 21-year-old friend Saturday afternoon at a pond south of Lake Pleasant, and police say the thing that really pushed Mercado over the edge was when the friend decided to steer his boat in the wrong direction.

Peoria police say meth also was a factor in this one.

According to a Peoria police spokesman, Mercado and two friends went to a private pond owned by the Maricopa Water District and stole two of the paddle boats there.

The three men tied the two boats together, and went paddling out on the pond.

Mercado, 20, apparently got angry that 21-year-old Rueben Diaz was paddling his boat in the opposite direction of his boat.

Mercado then threw Diaz in the water, according to police, and prevented him from getting back on either of the boats.

Police say Mercado then jumped in the water, and held Diaz under until he stayed there.

Mercado and his remaining friend, 26-year-old Julian Tamayo, went back to the edge of the pond, where witnesses -- who had already called the cops -- held them until police arrived.

According to Peoria police, Tamayo then assaulted an officer when he was brought to the police station, adding a charge of aggravated assault to the hindering prosecution charge he faces for allegedly trying to help Mercado escape from the scene of Diaz's drowning.

Police say both Mercado and Tamayo admitted using meth for their trip out to the pond.

Mercado faces a second-degree murder charge, which came after divers from the Maricopa County Sheriff's Office found Diaz's body at the bottom of the pond.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley