An Iraq war veteran who is the lead suspect in the killing of four homeless men in California is believed to have a homeless father, whom he may have tried to warn.
Though he has not confessed to the southern California murders, 23-year-old Itzcoatl Ocampo recently showed his father, a homeless man himself, a police flier about the murders he is suspected of committing.
Refugio Ocampo, 49, the Los Angeles Times, ‘He was very afraid for me because I am homeless. I told him, ‘You don’t have to worry about me, mijo. I am a survivor.’
The son, a former Marine, was apprehended Friday night after witnesses saw him running from a homeless man who had been stabbed to death behind a Carl’s Jr. restaurant.
After bystanders chased him for about a quarter mile, Ocampo was found at a mobile home park.
Since being discharged more than a year ago, Refugio said his son was different, that somehow his time in Iraq had changed him. He would say things that didn’t make sense and talk about the end of the world. Refugio told police he tried to get his son in to counseling, ‘but from there I don’t know what happened.’
The killings began in December 2011, and police had since given out fliers and released an unclear shot of the killer taken from surveillance footage obtained at the location of the first killing on December 20.
The first victim’s name was James McGillivray. He was 53 and killed in Placentia. The second was Lloyd Middaugh, 42, killed on Dec. 28 in Anaheim. The third victim was a father. His name was Paulus Cornelius Smit, he was 57, and killed in Yorba Linda, where the Ocampo is from. The most recent victim was 64-year-old John Berry.
Investigators say they are “extremely confident: that Ocampo is the man responsible for the murders.
If convicted, the 23-year-old former Marine could face the death penalty.