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Dead body found in refrigerator in Hawaiian Gardens liquor store

May 22, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
An employee's dead body was found bound and gagged inside a refrigerator in a Hawaiian Gardens liquor store Monday. A customer called 911 after finding the store on the 12300 block of Carson Street unlocked with no one around.

Investigators say the victim was in his 40s and ran the store for his sister, who owned the business. Detectives say a customer attempted to go into the store Monday around 4:45 p.m. They say the customer dialed 911 after noticing the door was unlocked and the lights were off.

"The sheriff's department showed up and searched the interior of the market and found the victim in the cold-storage area deceased," said L.A. County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Rubino. "The body was found bound and gagged."

People who shopped at the store are shocked.

"I was very surprised because he was a good guy," said Hawaiian Gardens resident Pedro Torres. "I used to come to his business almost every day to buy things and he was a very nice person."

"He was nice. You could be a penny short and he would let you go. 'Oh next time.' It's sad," said Hawaiian Gardens resident Frances Castillo.

"We're hoping somebody in the community saw something and will call us and help us, because that's what we need," said Rubino.

"The last time anyone saw him here at the business was Saturday afternoon maybe around 4 o'clock, so that's the last time family had contact with him," said Sheriff's Detective Peter Hecht. "We're not saying that he was killed on Saturday, we're just saying that's the last time the family had talked to him. So if anyone came by here late Saturday or early Sunday at anytime and noticed the door open and lights off we would appreciate if they would give us a call."

Anyone with information related to the case should contact the L.A. County Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.