Montebello high school teacher accused of sex with teenage former student

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WHITTIER >> Police jailed a teacher from Vail High School in Montebello on Friday on suspicion of carrying on a sexual relationship with a then-17-year-old student of the school, officials said.
Brian Lee Ward, 46, of Whittier was booked on suspicion statutory rape following his 2:30 p.m. arrest at his home on Comstock Avenue, Whittier police officials said in a written statement.
“Ward had developed a sexual relationship with the student over the course of several months in 2016,” according to the statement. “Though she was not his student, she did attend Vail High School at the time, where Ward is a teacher.”
Montebello Unified School District officials notified Montebello police upon learning of the allegation in December, police said. Montebello police turned the investigation over to their counterparts in Whittier after learning the alleged crimes took place at Ward’s home in their jurisdiction.
“Whittier Detectives were able to develop enough information to file for an arrest warrant out of Norwalk court,” the police statement said.
He was being held in lieu of $100,000 bail pending his initial court appearance, officials said.
Ward’s employment status with the MUSD was unclear late Friday.
Anyone with information is encouraged to contact Whittier police at 562-567-9255. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

BOOKING PHOTO of Brian Lee Ward courtesy of the Whittier Police Department.

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3 suspects jailed, 1 sought following Montebello cell phone store robbery


MONTEBELLO >> Montebello police arrested three suspects, including one found hiding in a trash can, and sought a fourth following a robbery at a cell phone store on Tuesday afternoon, authorities said.
The robbery took place about 1:45 p.m. at a MetroPCS store at 1102 W. Beverly Blvd., Montebello police officials said in a written statement.
Four men had entered the store and demanded employees turn over four new cell phones, according to the statement. The employees complied, and the suspect fled the business on foot.
Two officers who happened to be nearby spotted the group running from the store, officials said. The officers were not aware of the robbery that had just taken place, but attempted to stop the men because of the suspicious behavior.
“The suspects did not stop and split up,” according to the statement.
Officers quickly detained one of the suspects, but the other three continued fleeing. Police set up a search perimeter, with help from neighboring police agencies, to seek the outstanding suspects.
One additional suspect was caught after he tried to run from officers in the 600 block of Howard Avenue, police said.
The third suspect was apprehended about 7:25 p.m. after witnesses called police to report seeing a man matching the description released by police via social media. Officers were preparing to search the neighborhood when an officer heard a loud noise coming from a nearby side yard. A Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Depatment helicopter noticed a trash can had been turned upside down.
“While attempting to contact the residents at the location regarding their trash cans, one of the officers saw shoes sticking out from underneath the trash can,” the police statement said. “Moments later, the suspect was found to be hiding inside the trash can and he was taken into custody.”
The fourth and final suspect was not found.
The identities of the three arrested suspects were not available Wednesday morning.

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Montebello woman sentenced for abuse, murder of disabled sister

MONTEBELLO >> A judge sentenced a Montebello woman to 15 years in state prison Friday for the abuse and murder of her disabled 60-year-old sister in 2011, authorities said.
Amy Sam Ho, 62, was convicted in Los Angeles County Superior Court in July of second-degree murder and dependent adult abuse resulting in death in connection with the death of Cora Sam of Montebello on Oct. 10, 2011, Los Angeles County district Attorney’s officials said in a written statement.
Ho was her sister’s full-time caregiver when she brought Sam to a Montebello hospital, seemingly already dead, according to prosecutors and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials.
“She appeared lifeless and in a state of rigor mortis,” according to the statement. “After medical staff tended to her, the victim was declared dead.”
“Upon examination after her death, Cora Sam had several large sores and only weighed 66 pounds. She died of sepsis because of the infected sores,” the statement said. “During the investigation, detectives learned that Amy Sam Ho stopped taking her sister to the doctor for approximately one year and failed to seek medical treatment when the sores became progressively worse.”
An autopsy found that Sam died from sepsis, with additional contributing factors of pneumonia, infected bed sores, cerebral malformation and malnutrition, coroner’s records show. The death was ruled a homicide.

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Video: Man in clown mask sought in Montebello knifepoint robbery


MONTEBELLO >> Police on Thursday released video depicting a man in a clown mask robbing a woman at knifepoint in a Montebello parking garage in hopes of generating leads from the public.
The robbery unfolded just after 8:10 p.m. on Oct. 29 in the parking garage of an apartment complex at 1620 Neil Armstrong Street, Montebello police Detective Paul Antista said.
A woman parked her car and was walking through the garage when the robber, who wore a clown mask, approached, Sgt. Marc Marty said while narrating surveillance video footage of the crime.
“An unknown male who was lying in way inside the garage ran up to her from behind,” Marty said. “The suspect grabbed the victim with his left hand and brandished a small knife in his right hand up to her face.”
After demanding the woman’s belongings and threatening to kill her if she didn’t comply, the grabbed the woman’s laptop computer and began running away.
But when the woman yelled out to the man pleading with him not to steal her computer, he turned around and returned.
The masked robber once again put his knife up to the woman’s face and demanded more property, Antista said. He then fled with both her laptop and her purse. The victim was unhurt.
Police described the robber as a Latino man of about 20 years old, wearing a clown mask, a Dodger hat, a black sweatshirt and blue jeans.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Detective Antista at 323-887-1200, ext. 249. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Montebello man killed in Alhambra motorcycle crash identified


ALHAMBRA >> Authorities have identified a 31-year-old motorcyclist from Montebello who died in a crash after being cut off by pickup truck on an Alhambra expressway on Friday.
Eric Kawai died at a hospital shortly after Friday’s 11:50 a.m. collision on the eastbound 10 Freeway, just east of Garfield Avenue, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner records. He was initially described by California Highway Patrol officials as 32 years old.
Prior to the crash, Kawai was riding a 2015 Kawasaki Ninja motorcycle in the right-hand lane of the two-lane express way, which runs along the left-hand side of the eastbound 10 Freeway, Officer J. McKee of the CHP’s East Los Angeles Office said in a written statement.
A 1986 Toyota pickup truck being driven by a 19-year-old El Segundo man was heading east on the 10 Freeway in the fast lane, “in heavy stop-and-go traffic,” McKee said.
Kawai was overtaking the pickup truck when the driver veered across the solid double-white lines separating the freeway from the FasTrak expressway and directly into the motorcycles path of travel, McKee said. The motorcycle struck the pickup truck.
The teenage driver of the pickup truck, as well as three other young men who were riding as passengers, suffered no injuries in the crash, officials said.
Officers initially detained the teenage pickup truck driver, but he was not ultimately arrested, according to CHP officials.
Anyone with information regarding the fatal collision is asked to contact the CHP’s East Los Angeles-area office at 323-980-4600.
A fund established online at www.gofundme.com/eric-kawai to help Kawai’s family had raised more than $6,000 as of Wednesday.

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CHP: Motorcyclist from Montebello died after being cut off by pickup truck on 10 Freeway in Alhambra


ALHAMBRA >> A motorcyclist from Montebello died in a crash on the 10 Freeway in Alhambra Friday after a pickup truck cut him off on an expressway, authorities said Saturday.
Authorities withheld the name of the motorcyclists, described as a 32-year-old Montebello man, pending notification of his family, California Highway Patrol and Los Angeles County coroner’s officials said.
The crash took place about 11:50 a.m. on the eastbound 10 Freeway, just east of Garfield Avenue, California Highway Patrol Office Michelle Bond said.
Prior to the crash. the motorcyclist was riding a 2015 Kawasaki Ninja east in the right-hand lane of the two-lane FasTrak toll road, Officer McKee of the CHP’s East Los Angeles-area office said in a written statement. A 19-year-old El Segundo man was driving a 1986 Toyota pickup truck “in heavy stop-and-go traffic” in the fast lane of the eastbound 10 Freeway, alongside the FasTrak expressway.
“This collision occurred when (the pickup truck) changed lanes from the No. 1 lane of Interstate 10 eastbound across the solid double white lines,” McKee said.
The truck ended up directly in the motorcycle’s path of travel, he said. The motorcycle struck the back of the pickup truck.
Paramedics took the badly injured motorcyclist to a nearby hospital with severe trauma to his torso, officials said. He was soon pronounced dead.
The teenager at the wheel of the pickup was arrested, according to the CHP. His identity, as well as the crime he is accused of, were not available Saturday afternoon.
The pickup truck driver, as well as two other young men who were riding as passengers in the truck, suffered no injuries in the crash, according to McKee.
Anyone with information can reach the CHP’s East Los Angeles-area office during normal business hours at 323-980-4600.

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Help sought finding missing Montebello teen

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MONTEBELLO >> Police are asking the public’s help in finding a 17-year-old Montebello girl whose been missing for more than a month.
Isabel Frias was last seen on the night of Sept. 6 at her home in Montebello, prior to gong to sleep, Montebello police officials said in a written statement.
Her parents believed she had walked to school the following morning, but she never arrived, officials said.
“It is believed that Isabel may have run away with her boyfriend, Victor Alvarez, to an unknown location,” according to the statement.
“There have been possible sightings of Isabel in the East Los Angeles area near Obregon Park and Cesar Chavez Avenue,” the statement added.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Montebello police at 323-887-1313.

PHOTO courtesy of the Montebello Police Department.

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Creepy clown reports draw cops to schools in Pasadena, Rosemead

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Sightings, rumors and online chatter about menacing, sometimes-armed creepy clowns hanging around near Los Angeles County schools drew police responses on Thursday, but resulted in no arrests or incidents.
Police in Pasadena responded to Wilson Middle School, 300 Madre Street, about 10:45 a.m. in response to a “non-specific threat” involving possible sightings of clowns at the school, Pasadena police Lt. Mark Goodman said.
Officials evacuated the school and searched the campus, ultimately finding nothing unusual, Goodman said.
Students at Willard Elementary School, across the street, “sheltered in place” as police search the area and the Wilson campus, Pasadena Unified School District officials said.
The threat was determined to be “completely unfounded,” Goodman said. No further details regarding the nature of the reported threat were available.
“(Police) thoroughly assessed the entire campus. There was no threat on campus,” Wilson Principal Sarah Rudchenko said in a statement sent to parents.
The school resumed normal operation about 11:45 a.m.
“Teachers will be providing students with an opportunity to discuss and debrief the incident,” Rudchenko said. “Counselors will be on site to assist if needed.”
In Rosemead, an officials Mildred B. Janson Elementary School, 8628 Marshall Street, called deputies about 1:30 p.m. to report seeing what appeared to be someone dressed as a clown near the campus, possibly carrying a handgun, Lt. John McClure of the sheriff’s Temple City Station said.
Deputies searched the area, but did not find any clowns, armed or otherwise, he said.
Police in Montebello were also keeping an eye out after receiving word that social media posts had indicated the creepy clowns would be showing up soon in their city.
Glendora police arrested a 19-year-old Azusa man Wednesday on suspicion of criminal threats after he posted messaged via social media involving clown-related threats against his alma mater, Sierra High School, as well as vague threats in the city of El Monte.
The suspect, 19-year-old William Salazar, indicated to detectives the threats were intended to be a joke.

PHOTO: Pennywise the clown, from Stephen King’s 1990 film, “It.”

 

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Teen slashed with knife during robbery in Montebello


MONTEBELLO >> Police are seeking a man who slashed a teen’s hand with a knife during a robbery along Whittier Boulevard Saturday morning, officials said.
The teenage boy was walking at Whittier and Montebello boulevards about 10:40 a.m. when the robber approached, Montebello police Lt. Boris Zeissig said.
The robber brandished a knife and demanded property from the victim, ultimately fleeing with items including a cell phone, according to the lieutenant.
At some point during the robbery, the teen suffered a cut to his hand, he said.
A detailed suspect description was not available.
Detectives were looking into the possibility the crime was related to another knifepoint robbery reported just over an hour before and four miles away in Monterey Park, though a concrete link had not been established, authorities said.
In that case, a woman was walking alone in the 1900 block of South Atlantic Avenue when a man approached from behind, Monterey Park Lt. Tina Montoya said. He brandished a knife and robbed her of her cash, purse and cell phone.
Police described the Monterey Park robber as a Latino man in his early-30s, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall, with short black hair and wearing all black clothing.
Anyone with information can reach Montebello police at 323-887-1313, or Monterey Park police at 626-573-1311. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Montebello man admits murder of wife in 2014

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MONTBELLO >> A Montebello man who beat and strangled his wife before stashing her body in the trunk of the family car and fleeing with the couple’s four children in late-2014 admitted charges of murder and child abuse Thursday, prosecutors said.
Daniel Diego Perez was charged with murder and other crimes for the slaying of 39-year-old Erica Perez, whose body was discovered on the afternoon of Dec. 10, 2014, in the trunk of the family’s 2010 Honda Accord, parked at 2nd Street and Harding Avenue, Montebello police Capt. Luis Lopez said at the time. The family of six was reported missing Dec. 9 after a relative reported they had not been seen since Dec. 5.
Police arrested Daniel Perez and recovered the four boys — then-ages 6, 8, 9 and 11 — following a pursuit that ended with a standoff near Santee.
During what was scheduled to be a pre-trial hearing in Los Angeles County Superior Court, “Daniel Diego Perez, 45, pleaded guilty to the second-degree murder of of his 39-year-old wife, Erica,” Los Angeles County District Attorney’s officials said in written statement.
He also admitted two counts of child abuse for endangering his two younger sons during the pursuit and standoff leading up to his arrest. The search for the father and sons resulting in a statewide Amber Alert.
Judge Leslie Swain sentenced Perez to 15 years to life in prison for the murder, plus seven years and four months for the child abuse.
Daniel Perez previously pleaded not guilty to the charges, which originally included kidnapping as well.
An autopsy determined Erica Perez died from probably asphyxia and strangulation, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner records. Investigators also noted multiple blunt force traumatic injuries as an additional significant cause of the death. The death was ruled a homicide.
When police were first seeking the missing couple, prior to the discovery of Erica Perez’s body, police relayed that family members had reported the couple’s marriage was “unstable” and there was a history of domestic violence.
The couple’s four children have since been placed in the care of family members.

PHOTOS; Erica Perez, left. Daniel Perez, right. (Courtesy)

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