Two teen boys are in custody Friday on suspicion of strangling a Castro Valley woman, beating her, and then leaving her body to burn in a robbery-gone-bad last week.
"This is what nightmares are made of," Alameda County Sheriff's spokesman Sgt. J.D. Nelson said.
Cody Nicosia, 18, and a 16-year-old boy, whose name NBC Bay Area is not releasing, were arrested Thursday after an investigation led deputies to the younger boy. The 16-year-old is a distant relative of the dead woman's longtime boyfriend - a San Francisco firefighter, Nelson said.
The woman has been identified as 58-year-old Barbara Latiolais.
Nelson added that though Latiolais was beaten and her body was left to burn, she actually was strangled to death. A number of valuables had been taken from the home, including the couple's black 2006 Volvo, which was later found about a mile away, at the end of Brookdale Boulevard.
"They intended to rob the home," Nelson said, "and then once she didn't leave they changed their minds and decided to attack her."
Around 12:15 a.m. on Oct. 18, firefighters received word of the one-alarm fire at 2431 San Carlos Ave., the home Latiolais shared with her boyfriend.
While putting the blaze out, firefighters discovered Latiolais' brutally assaulted body. They also discovered that an accelerant had been used and called sheriff's deputies.
Investigators said deputies overheard the 18-year-old acknowledge his role in the death to his father when they served a search warrant at his home.
Efforts to reach the boys' families were not immediately successful.
Latiolais' boyfriend was away visiting his ill mother when his girlfriend was killed.
"It's disgusting to think someone would do that to her. She was a beautiful,
amazing loving person," said Amanda Miller, a spokesman for Latiolais' family.
Miller said that one of the teens did yard work for Latiolais and her boyfriend and sometimes gave him hand-me-down clothes.
"I hope they rot for the rest of their life and I hope that they think about this every single day and
I hope it kills them because they ruined a family. I just want justice for her and I'm just so relieved that they have those kids," Miller said.