Loading...
Crime

Arrests Made in 2008 Long Beach Homeless Encampment Murders

Comments (0)

By

Wed, Jan 18, 2012 at 3:45 PM

click to enlarge Five people were killed in 2008 at a homeless encampment like this one - CALTRANS
  • CalTrans
  • Five people were killed in 2008 at a homeless encampment like this one
Updated at the bottom: The suspects have been named by the Long Beach Police Department and are being linked to other crimes too.

Originally posted January 18 at 3:45 p.m.

By Taylor Freitas

Long Beach police just announced that they've made an arrests related to the killing of five people in a homeless encampment more than three years ago.

It won't make up for the pain the victims' families have experienced since then, but it could at least bring some peace of mind for the relatives of those killed, identified as Vanessa Malaepule, 34, of Carson; Jose Lorenzo Villicana, 44, of Long Beach; Katherine Lynn Verdun, 24, of Long Beach; Frederick Doyle Neumeier, 53, of Long Beach; and Hamid Shraifat, 41, of Signal Hill.

On Nov. 2, 2008, the five victims were found shot to death in a homeless encampment near Wardlow Road and Santa Fe Avenue, just off the 405 Freeway, according to the Long Beach Police Department.

Long Beach Chief of Police Jim McDonnell will hold a news conference today at 4 p.m. to discuss the details of the long-awaited arrests. Our sister paper OC Weekly has more information about the press conference.

The announcement comes just days after Anaheim police arrested 23-year-old Itzcoatl Ocampo on suspicion of murdering four homeless men in Orange County.

Updated January 19 at 1:05 p.m.: Long Beach police announced they have arrested David Ponce, 31, of Lancaster, and Max Rafael, 25, of Los Angeles, on suspicion of killing the five victims.

Both are known gang members, police said.

The men are each being charged with five counts of murder, one count of kidnapping to commit another crime and conspiracy to commit a crime.

Ponce, who according to police was involved in a dispute with one of the victims over drugs, also faces gun charges, as well as charges for the 2009 kidnapping and murder of Tony Bledsoe of Lancaster.

Related Content

Related

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets

Slideshows

  • Street League Skateboarding Super Crown World Championship
    On Sunday, Street League Skateboarding touched down in the Galen Center at USC as part of a four-stop tour for SLS's Super Crown World Championship. The L.A. stop determined the roster for Super Crown, airing August 24th on FOX Sports 1. The final eight are Nyjah Huston, Luan Oliveira, Torey Pudwill, Shane O'Neill, Paul Rodriguez, Chaz Ortiz, Matt Berger and Ishod Wair. All photos by Nanette Gonzales.
  • Comic-Con's "Celebrity" Autograph Area
    A sometimes overlooked (but still incredibly unique) aspect of San Diego Comic-Con are the celebs available to sign autographs, as well as the autograph seekers themselves. If you've ever wanted to meet the Soup Nazi from Seinfeld or the guy who played Michelangelo in the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, chances are, as you wander the Autograph Area, you'll be able to connect with someone you didn't even realize you were waiting your whole life to meet! All photos by Rob Inderrieden.
  • Real Madrid Soccer Practice at UCLA
    Fans came out to greet world champion soccer team Real Madrid as they practice at UCLA. This is the first time that soccer star Cristiano Ronaldo has practiced with the team this year. All photos by Jeff Cowan.