San Bernardino shooting victim had fled Islamic terror in Iran

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Benneta Betbadal fled Iran as a teenager nearly 20 years ago to escape Islamic terror before becoming one of 14 people to lose their lives in a coordinated attack at a work-related gathering Wednesday, according to loved ones and officials.
Betbadal, also described by officials as Bennetta Bet-Badal, 46, died in the hail of bullets unleased by fellow San Bernardino County employee Syed Farook, 28, and his wife Tashfeen Malik, 27. Both suspects were later killed in a shootout with police.
“Benneta Betbadal was born in Iran in 1969. She fled to America at the age of 18 to escape Islamic extremism and the persecution of Christians that followed the Iranian Revolution,” according to a fundraising website set up by Ken Paulson. “Benneta initially settled in New York City, eventually moving to California and marrying her husband, Arlen Verdehyou, a police officer. They moved to Rialto, California and had three children, now ages 10, 12, and 15.”
It is the ultimate irony that her life would be stolen from her that day by what appears to be the same type of extremism that she fled so many years ago,” the statement said.
A graduate of Cal Poly Pomona, where she studied chemistry, Betbadal enjoyed her career with the county health department.
“Benneta left the house Wednesday morning, excited about a presentation she was scheduled to give to her supervisors and coworkers at their annual meeting,” Paulson continued.
“She loved her job, her community, and her country. Her greatest love, however, was for her husband, her children, and her large extended family,” according to the statement.
Donations to benefit Betbadal’s family are being collected online at www.gofundme.com/y2d8bn7w.

PHOTO via https://www.gofundme.com/y2d8bn7w

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UPDATED: Woman found slain inside car parked West Whittier


WEST WHITTIER >> Deputies checking on an abandoned car found the body of a woman stuffed into a container in the rear cargo compartment of a car Sunday afternoon, authorities said.
The discovery took place about 1:10 p.m. in the 8600 block of Bradwell Avenue, just north of Rivera Road in the unincorporated county area of West Whittier, Sgt. Bob Boese of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Information Bureau said in a written statement.
Deputies responded to a report of a car that had been abandoned on the street, Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez of the Sheriff’s Information Bureau said.
“The deputies approached the vehicle — a red, 1991 Toyota Celica Hatchback — and smelled a very strong odor indicative of decomposition,” she said.
Upon closer inspection, they discovered the victim’s body in the car’s rear cargo area.
“The victim, who appears to be between the ages of 20 and 25, was entombed in a large container,” Navarro-Suarez said.
The woman’s identity and cause of death were not yet determined, officials said.
No further details were released.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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One suspect jailed, another sought in Montebello slaying

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MONTEBELLO >> Police Sunday announced that detectives have arrested one suspect and are seeking another in connection with the slaying of a man in a Montebello parking lot last week.
Detectives arrested Martin Emmannuel Bautista, 33, of Pico Rivera Wednesday on suspicion of murder in connection with the Nov. 23 slaying, Montebello police officials announced Sunday. Alleged accomplice Eric Daniel Deleon, 28, of Pico Rivera, remained at large.
“It is believed Deleon is being assisted by acquaintances to avoid being located,” Montebello police Sgt. Julio Calleros said in a written statement.
The body of the victim, described as a man in his 50s, was discovered shortly after noon in the 300 block of South Vail Avenue, Montebello police Sgt. Larry Jackson said.
His name remained withheld over the weekend as authorities continued working to notify his family, coroner’s officials said. The man’s cause of death also remained unknown pending an autopsy.
Officials have said it appeared two men assaulted the victim, though the nature of his injuries have not been disclosed. Police distributed sketches of two possible suspects the day after the killing.
Police arrested Bautista on suspicion of the slaying about 9 p.m. Wednesday, Los Angeles County booking records show. Further details regarding the circumstances of his arrest or his alleged role in the slaying were not released.
Deleon is described as Latino, 5 feet 6 inches tall, 165 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Montebello police Detective C. Adams at 323-887-01313, ext. 256 or Detective R. Zabala at 323-887-1313, ext. 254. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers by calling 800-222-8477.
Bautista is scheduled to appear Tuesday at an arraignment hearing in Los Angeles Superior Court, records show. He was being held in lieu of $1 million bail.
PHOTOS courtesy of the Montebello Police Department.

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Victim of Irwindale shooting identified as Duarte man


IRWINDALE >> Coroner’s officials have released the identity of a Duarte man found dead inside a bullet-riddled car along Foothill Boulevard in Irwindale Wednesday morning.
Martin Diaz, 48, was found fatally shot about 5:40 a.m. in the 15900 block of Foothill Boulevard, Los Angeles Count Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner officials said.
He was believed to have been driving east on Foothill Boulevard when he was shot by an unknown assailant, who remains at large, Lt. Joe Mendoza of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau said. But it was unclear exactly what time the shooting took place.
No further information regarding the circumstances or motive in the shooting were available.
Anyone with information was asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Man found slain inside van in Norwalk


NORWALK >> A man was found slain inside a van parked in a residential Norwalk neighborhood Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
Eric Hector Sarabia, 36, was pronounced dead after being discovered suffering from trauma to his head and face inside a van parked in the 13900 block of Flatbush Avenue, just north of Rosecrans Avenue, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner’s officials said. No city of residence was listed for Sarabia at the coroner’s office.
A neighbor reported discovering the body about 3:50 p.m., though it was unclear exactly how long it had been there before being found, Lt. Steve Jauch of the Sheriff’s homicide Bureau said Wednesday.
Also unclear Wednesday was how Sarabia died.
“There was trauma to his face and his head,” the lieutenant said. “It’s definitely being investigated by as homicide. We just don’t know how he died.”
An autopsy was yet to be carried out, Ed Winter, assistant chief of operations at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner Coroner said.
Sarabia’s body was found in the rear portion of a white van, officials said.
Sarabia was not the registered owner of the vehicle, Jauch said. The investigator declined to discuss who did own the vehicle, citing the active investigation.
No further details were available.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Covina man sentenced for fatal stabbing of neighbor

LOS ANGELES >> A judge sentenced a Covina man to prison Friday for fatally stabbing a neighbor in 2012.
Luis Alberto Villaneda, 36, received a sentence of 16 years to life in state prison after a Los Angeles Superior Court jury convicted him in May of last year of the Aug. 29, 2012 slaying of 38-year-old Homeboy Industries employee Gonzalo Robles, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said.
The jury convicted Villaneda of second-degree murder, along with the special allegation that he used a knife to commit the crime.
Villaneda and Robles had been involved in an argument earlier in the day in the neighborhood where both men lived in the 3600 block of Shadyglen Drive, in an unincorporated county area near Covina, district attorney’s office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
Robles considered the matter resolved by nightfall, Ardalani said. “However, Villaneda still harbored animosity toward Robles.”
The next day, Villaneda and a friend went to Robles’ home and became involved in a fight with him, authorities said.
“During the fight, the defendant pulled out a knife. Villaneda’s friend told him to leave, but the defendant refused,” Ardalani said.
Robles tried to get Villaneda to drop the knife, she said. “Another tenant threw the victim a smaller knife to protect himself.”
“After Villaneda began swinging at the victim, Robles stabbed the defendant in the shoulder,” Ardalani said. “Then Villaneda fatally stabbed the victim in the heart.”
Investigators found and arrested Villaneda hours later at a nearby convenience store.
Robles was pronounced dead in his own backyard. His roommate described him a father with another child on the way at the time of his death.
He worked at Homeboy Industries in Los Angeles, which provides employment opportunities and support to reformed gang members and others trying to improve their lives following incarceration.

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UPDATED: El Monte teen killed, man wounded in shooting at West Valinda house party

Los Angeles County Sheriff's homicide detectives investigate the shooting death of a 17-year-old boy in the 14100 block of Barrydale Street in the unincorporated county area of West Valinda, Calif. Nov. 15, 2015. The youth was shot by an adult male hispanic suspect during a house party about 11:50 p.m. Saturday night and was pronounced dead at the Barrydale Street home just southeast of Puente Avenue. Another male victim was shot in the hand. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s homicide detectives investigate the shooting death of a 17-year-old boy in the 14100 block of Barrydale Street in the unincorporated county area of West Valinda, Calif. Nov. 15, 2015. The youth was shot by an adult male hispanic suspect during a house party about 11:50 p.m. Saturday night and was pronounced dead at the Barrydale Street home just southeast of Puente Avenue. Another male victim was shot in the hand. (Photo by Leo Jarzomb/San Gabriel Valley Tribune)

WEST VALINDA >> A shooting at a house party left an El Monte teenager dead and a second victim wounded late Saturday, authorities said.
The shooter remained at large following the 11:50 p.m. shooting at a home in the 14100 block of Barrydale Street, in the unincorporated county area of West Valinda, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
Enrique Ortiz Jr., 17, of El Monte died in the shooting, Lt. Fred Corral of the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said.
The gunfire erupted during a party, officials said.
“Detectives have learned that during a gathering at a residence, a male Hispanic adult suspect produced a firearm and shot one victim in the upper torso,” according the statement.
The gunman shot a second victim in the hand before fleeing, officials said. No suspect description was available.
The wounded victim, described by sheriff’s officials as a man, was taken to a hospital for treatment. An update on his condition was not available.
Barrydale Street remained closed off between Puente and Maryland Avenues as detectives and crime scene investigators continued working at the scene Sunday afternoon.
Investigators appeared to be focusing their interest on an area behind a single-story, wood-sided home as they took measurements and photographs.
Authorities were looking into the possibility the shooting was related to another gunshot victim who showed up at a West Covina hospital early Sunday morning.
A man in his 20s arrived at Citrus Valley Health Partners – Queen of the Valley Campus in West Covina about 1 a.m. with a gunshot wound to his leg, West Covina police Lt. Dennis Patton said. But the victim refused to cooperate with police, other than to say he was shot while on his way to a party, Patton said. No solid link between the two incidents had been established Sunday as the investigation into both incidents remained ongoing.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be provided anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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UPDATED: Second victim of mysterious Hacienda Heights double-slaying identified as 16-year-old boy


HACIENDA HEIGHTS >> Authorities have identified a victim found stabbed to death inside a Hacienda Heights house along with the elderly homeowner last month as a teenage boy, but the mystery surrounding the circumstances of the double slaying remains.
Gavin Bustamante, 16, was found dead along with June Collins, 84, on Oct. 7 at Collins’ home in the 16600 block of Carriage Place, Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner Lt. Alyssa Fleak said. Sheriff’s offiicals said he was also known as Gavin Wilhelm.
An autopsy determined both victims had been stabbed to death.
But exactly what unfolded inside the Carriage place home remained a mystery, Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’ Homicide Bureau said.
The coroner’s identification of the young victim represents, “another piece of the puzzle,” he said. But detectives still have their work cut out for them.
““We’re trying to figure out who was there and who did what they did,” Corina said.
Both bodies were already well into the stages of decomposition when they were found by deputies who has been asked to check on Collins, Los Angeles County sheriff’s and coroner officials said.
Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau estimated the killing took place about a week before the bodies were discovered.
Investigators noted signs of a struggle within the home, but no evidence of forced entry into the house, Corina said in the days following the double-homicide. Robbery was not believed to be the motive.
Handling homicide detectives could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Sheriff’s officials and neighbors said Collins had a 54-year-old adult son who was in jail for abusing his mother at the time of the killing.
But many associates of the son continued coming by Collins’ home, and even staying there at times, during the son’s incarceration, officials said.
Bustamante was believed to be one of those associates.
No city of residence for the teen was listed at the coroner’s office, however Corina said Bustamante, a former El Monte resident, had been staying at Collins’ home for several months.
Capt. Tim Murakami of the sheriff’s Industry Station said it appeared the son’s associates, often drug addicts, were taking advantage of Collins, who suffered from dementia.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

PHOTO of fatal stabbing victim June Collins, 84, of Hacienda Heights courtesy of the California DMV.

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Suspects charged in 2006 slaying of Iraq War veteran

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SOUTH GATE >> Detectives Sunday announced the arrests of two suspects in the cold case slaying of a 24-year-old Iraq War veteran from Rowland Heights found slain inside his burning car in South Gate in 2006, authorities said.
U.S. Army veteran Jesse Aguilar was found dead inside his car, which was found on fire on Oct. 26, 2006, in the Los Angeles Riverbed near Paramount Boulevard in South Gate, Detective Ray Lugo of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau.
Prompted by evidence in the case, prosecutors Wednesday filed charged of murder and torture against Anthony Silvas, 36, and Juan Vallejo, 40, Lugo said. Silvas, who has been considered a person of interest in the case since shortly after it occurred, while Vallejo was identified as a suspect in recent months.
After nine years waiting for justice, Aguilar’s mother, Nancy Aguilar, said she was glad to see the investigation move forward.
“It’s been a relief that there’s going to be accountability,” she said. “I want to look into the killers’ eyes. I want to see them.”
Vallejo, who lived in La Mirada at the time of the slaying, was arrested Wednesday at a home where he was living in Hawaiian Gardens, Lugo said. Silva, a South Whittier resident at the time of Aguilar’s killing, was already in custody in Orange County for an unrelated drug offense.
Lugo declined to discuss details of the killing, due to the ongoing investigation, but said it was motivated by a dispute over money. He said Aguilar and Silvas were 1109_NWS_SGT-L-AGUILAR2friends, and described the victim and Vallejo as acquaintances.
Nancy Aguilar said she herself new little about her son’s death. “I don’t even know how they killed by son,” she said.
Information will emerge as the legal process moves forward.
“Do I want to know everything? No. But I have to,” the mother said.
Aguilar, who grew up in La Mirada and joined the Army in March of 2001, took part in the invasion of Iraq in March of 2003, his mother said.
“He went to war and came back in one piece, and I was so thankful,” she said.
He had been back in the U.S. less than two years and was working at the Automobile Club of Southern California in Costa Mesa when he was killed, according to the detective and Jesse Aguilar’s mother.
He never returned home after going to work Oct. 25, Lugo said. After being reported missing, his bound body was found the following day inside his car, which had been set ablaze.
Lugo, along with a team of fellow detectives, has been investigating Aguilar’s slaying since it occurred.
“We weren’t going to give up on this case,” he said.
1109_NWS_SGT-L-AGUILAR3Nancy Aguilar thanked detectives, and particularly Lugo, for their dedication.
“God sent Ray (Lugo) for this case because he never quits,” she said.
In addition to his parents, Nancy and Frank Aguilar, Jesse Aguilar is survived by two daughters, ages 9 and 14, three sisters and two brothers.
Nancy Lugo said in the years following son’s slaying, she has found comfort and solace in support groups, such as Parents of Murdered Children’s Orange County chapter.
According to Los Angeles County booking records, Vallejo is being held in lieu of $1.01 million bail and is scheduled for arraignment Monday in Los Angeles Superior 1109_NWS_SGT-L-AGUILAR4Court. Silvas remained in custody in Orange County pending a scheduled arraignment Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court, officials said.

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PHOTOS: [TOP TO BOTTOM] 1. Jesse Aguilar, 24, of Rowland Heights, was found slain inside his burning car in South Gate on Oct. 26, 2006. Two suspects were charged with his killing nine years later on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015. (Courtesy)  2. Jesse Aguilar poses with an Iraqi boy while serving overseas with the U.S. Army following the 2003 invasion of Iraq. (Courtesy)  3. Jesse Aguilar spends time with one of his two daughters shortly after returning home from a U.S. Army deployment to Iraq. (Courtesy)  4. The gravesite of Jesse Aguilar, 24, of Rowland Heights, who was found slain inside his burning car in South Gate on Oct. 26, 2006. Two suspects were charged with his killing nine years later on Wednesday, Nov. 4, 2015. (Courtesy)  5. Jesse Aguilar, a 24-year-old U.S. Army veteran found slain in 2006, is pictured upon his graduation from the Wilshire School of Continuing Education in Fullerton. (Courtesy)

 

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Man shot to death at Pico Rivera house party


PICO RIVERA >> A man died in a shooting at a Halloween party in Pico Rivera after an argument erupted into gunfire, authorities said.
The fatal shooting took place just after midnight at a home in the 9600 block of Par Place, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement. The victim, initially described as a 23-year-old man, died at the scene.
“Detectives have learned that both the suspect and the victim were attending a party at that location when they began to argue,” according to the sheriff’s department statement. “During the argument, the suspect produced a firearm and shot the victim several times.”
The shooter fled and remained at large morning. No description was available.
“At this time, this incident appears to be gang related,” the statement said.
The victims name was not released pending positive identification and notification of family, coroner’s officials said.
No further details were released.
Anyone with information is asked to contact the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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