Man booked for murder in death of Santa Clarita man believed to be missing 20-year-old

SANTA CLARITA, Calif. (KABC) -- A man has been booked for murder in connection with the death of another man, who family members identified as a 20-year-old Santa Clarita resident who had been missing for two days.

The suspect taken into custody is 21-year-old Christian Ortiz, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Homicide Bureau officials confirmed Monday.

Ortiz was booked for murder, but officials said they were not immediately releasing information on a motive.

The victim's body was found shortly before 4 p.m. Sunday after authorities were called on a report of a person not breathing at a home in the 23600 block of Via Valer in Santa Clarita, sheriff's officials said.

Investigators initially called the man's death suspicious, and based on interviews and evidence at the location, it was later determined that the victim "died at the hands of another," and the suspect was responsible for his death.

The cause of death is believed to be strangulation, officials said.

Brayan "Brian" Rodriguez was last seen on Friday in the area of Via Valer, according to a missing flyer circulating in the area. His cellphone was later found at Valencia Meadows Park.

Detectives would not confirm the identity of the victim, but friends and family told Eyewitness News they believe it was Rodriguez.

Ortiz's bail was set at $1 million, and he is due to appear in court on Thursday.

Anyone with information about the incident was encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call "Crime Stoppers" by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477).
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