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Lennox murder suspect arrested; house burns

Investigators dig in the back yard of a house in Lennox on Tuesday, Feb. 15, 2011.

February 16, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
L.A. County Sheriff's investigators arrested Marcos Lomeli, a suspect in a murder case, at a motel in Pico Rivera Wednesday. Hours later Wednesday night, the house at the center of the case caught fire.

In Lennox, a body was found in the backyard of a home Tuesday morning. Lomeli was sought in connection to the body, and authorities searched for a missing second person.

Lomeli was found at a motel near Beverly and Rosemead boulevards Wednesday afternoon.

Hours later, the Lennox house caught fire. The fire damaged the home, according to county fire officials. Firefighters extinguished the blaze in about 20 minutes.

The fire was under investigation by an arson unit.

The search continued Wednesday for the second body that may be buried in the backyard of the Lennox house . The home belongs to a missing husband and wife.

Officials started digging in the backyard of the home on 112th Street and Inglewood Avenue on Tuesday and found the body of a man. Investigators said the body may belong to James Stein, the owner of the home. Stein and his wife, Gabriela Stein, have been missing since Dec. 9.

Neighbors say the home has been known as the "crazy house" or "drug house" for years.

"It's common to see fights, police work here. You see people getting stabbed here. It's kind of crazy sometimes," said neighbor Jonny Lobos.

Authorities first got word there may be bodies buried in the backyard on Monday. The tip came from the ex-girlfriend of the prime suspect.

Authorities then began searching for Marcos Lomeli. Neighbors said Lomeli came to them and wanted to borrow their truck to move some bodies. When they refused to give it to him, they said he tied them up and took the truck, which was described as a beige 1984 Chevy long bed with license plate 3T55454 and a bumper sticker that says, "War is not the answer."

Anyone with information was urged to call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.