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Landlord finds tenant's body in Santa Ana

June 7, 2010 12:24:36 AM PDT
A landlord checking on a tenant she hadn't seen in a few days discovered his body inside a guesthouse located in the backyard of a home in Santa Ana on Monday.Authorities were called to the 1300 block of South Joane Way at about 6:30 a.m. Police confirmed that the incident is being investigated as a homicide.

The landlord had gone to check on the 46-year-old tenant because she hadn't seen him in two or three days. She thought he had gone away for the weekend when she hadn't seen him around, but she became suspicious Monday morning when she didn't see him departing for work as he usually did.

"When they went in, my mom saw that the cabinet, the cookies, everything was on the ground, thrown, like somebody was looking for something," said Bawner Romero, the landlord's son. "That's when my dad says, 'they killed him' and my mom saw his legs hanging from the bed."

Police have not released the cause or time of death, only saying that there was a lot of blood. An autopsy was planned for Tuesday morning.

"It's very chaotic and scrambled and gruesome," said Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, a spokesman for the Santa Ana Police Department.

Witnesses said some items were missing from the residence, including the victim's Toyota Camry and the television in his bedroom.

Police have not yet released the victim's name, but witnesses say he worked as the manager of a maintenance company and earned extra money refereeing soccer.

Investigators were trying to determine if robbery was the motive behind his murder.

"It could be any number of things. It could be some kind of fight he had with somebody that he knew; it could be just total strangers that broke into the house," said Bertagna.

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