Newport Beach victims found dead in possible double homicide

NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- 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.

Newport Beach police responded to a 911 call in the 2100 block of E. 15th Street at about 9:30 p.m. Sunday and discovered two people dead. Police said the male victim's roommate was the first to find the man and woman's bodies and called police.

The woman was later identified by coroner officials as 48-year-old Costa Mesa resident Wendi Miller, who was last seen in Laguna Beach over the weekend before being reported missing by family members. The male victim was identified as 38-year-old Darren Partch of Newport Beach. He was a resident of the home, police said. Their deaths are being investigated as a double homicide investigation, police said.

Miller's family was searching for her since she was last seen leaving a bar 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.

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

"Darren was a great guy. My first interaction with him, he was very calming, he's very likeable," said James Kwast of Newport Beach.

"They hit it off. They had a great time down in Laguna Beach. He needed a ride home. She was known for giving people rides home whenever they needed it," Kwast said.

Miller's family released a statement saying: "Wendi lit up every room she entered. She was an amazing, loving mother. She was joy and light and love. An enormous hole just opened up in all our lives. She was fiercely dedicated to keeping children safe. The mission statement of her nonprofit-Wings for Justice-describes almost too simply the fight she waged: "We protect children in the family court system and advocate for change." She should still be here with us. We urge anyone with information about her death to come forward."

It appeared the locks were being changed at Miller's Costa Mesa home. Meantime, some residents in Newport Beach said they're also on edge.

"There's somebody out there who did this that they need to find, so that scares me," said neighbor Debbie Moore-Miller.

Investigators said the crime is an isolated incident. They do not believe the public is in danger.
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