Newport Beach murders: 44-year-old man arrested in double homicide

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- An arrest has been made in the killing of a man and woman whose bodies were found in a Newport Beach condo, police confirmed Thursday.

Darren Partch, 38, and Wendi Miller, 48, were found dead at Partch's home in the 2100 Block of East 15th Street on Easter Sunday.

Friends say the two were at a bar in Laguna Beach right before the crime. Police originally called the killings an isolated incident.

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A double homicide investigation is underway Monday after a man and woman were found dead by the man's roommate at a Newport Beach home.



The suspect is identified as 44-year-old Jamon Rayon Buggs from Huntington Beach. He was arrested Thursday on suspicion of murder. At the time of his arrest, Buggs was in custody at the Orange County Jail in connection with burglary charges stemming from an arrest by the Irvine Police Department. He's also accused of firing a gun at one of the homes he allegedly burglarized. At least one of the burglaries happened after the bodies were discovered in Newport Beach.

Police said Buggs was initially arrested early Monday after a short pursuit and after barricading himself at an unoccupied home.

Buggs is now being held on a $1 million bail pending double-murder charges, police said. A motive remains unknown.

Buggs' neighbors said he's lived at his apartment complex since September and police and CSI were spotted there earlier this week.

"My hands shake. Just to know that I've said hi to him makes me real uncomfortable, to know that somebody like that lived here," said neighbor Shelley Tanaka.

Buggs' Facebook page says he worked as a personal trainer at a couple of gyms in Murrieta and and Huntington Beach.

One neighbor who wanted to be identified as Marianne recalled hearing a recent violent fight inside Buggs' apartment.

"I look out my window and I see a blonde woman running from his apartment, and then I see him take off after her, but I don't know who that woman was," Marianne said.

Court records show Buggs is a convicted felon. He also had a domestic violence hearing scheduled next month involving another woman.

Miller's family was searching for her since she was last seen Friday night. A Facebook post from her son shows his cry for help in finding his mother. Then, there was a heartbreaking announcement of Miller's death the following day. The Costa Mesa woman was the CEO of Wings for Justice, an organization working to protect children in the family court system.

Miller's family released the following statement Thursday: "Wendy's dedication to justice for children is what she left us. We are now challenged to pick up where she was so senselessly cut down. We commit to continuing her fight. To honor her and to join us, please help keep her nonprofit -- Wings for Justice -- alive. Volunteer or donate at wingsforjustice.com"

Friends of Partch say he played minor league hockey for several teams over the years. He worked as a finance and credit consultant.

Anyone with more information regarding this case or with information on the recent activities and whereabouts of Buggs prior to his arrest should contact Detective Rick Henry at 949-644-3797.
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