[UPDATED with $5,000 Reward Paid:] Itzcoatl Ocampo, Troubled Former Marine, Accused Orange County Serial Killer
"He's victimizing already vulnerable members of our society," says Tom Dominguez, the union's president, in a written statement.
He continues, "One of the most sacred tenets of law enforcement is protecting those who cannot protect themselves, be it the homeless, the elderly, the disabled or children. He must be caught before he kills again."
The slayings since Dec. 20 in Placentia, Yorba Linda and Anaheim Hills are not within Orange County Sheriff Department patrol areas, but agency investigators are represented on the multi-agency task force probing the murders. The Anaheim Police Department heads up the task force, and anyone with information that can help locate the killer is still asked to call 714.765.1944 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
The task force sought tips at a roadblock Tuesday near the scene of McGillivray's demise in Placentia, the Guardian Angels have been patrolling areas where the homeless are known to congregate and advocates and law enforcement have been communicating with the region's most vulnerable in hopes of getting them into shelters overnight or, short of that, sleeping in packs.
|James McGillivray. R.I.P.|
The increase in armory users and size of the makeshift memorial in Placentia may be tied to local law enforcement's stepped up contact with the media, the public and the homeless population about their suspicions a serial killer may be preying on homeless men.
Most of those seeking refuge in the armories are single males, which fits the description of homeless men killed since Dec. 20 in Anaheim, Placentia and Yorba Linda.
UPDATE, JAN. 5, 2:17 P.M.: Among the ways the Orange County Rescue Mission is helping homeless people deal with a serial killer who is apparently targeting them is to collect flashlights, whistles, blankets and hygiene items for them--but also urging them to find shelter a night. The homeless can get information about this by dialing 2-1-1 toll free or visiting realhomeless.com.
But the murder of three homeless men since Dec. 20 has pointed to a dire problem with this strategy: Orange County does not have enough beds or shelters for its homeless population.
"The bottom line is, for every bed that's available, you've got several people that are lined up for it," Larry Haynes, executive director of Mercy House that runs the county armories in Fullerton and Santa Ana, reportedly tells the Orange County Register.
The county's public and private shelters have about 3,300 beds, but many are taken and more than half are transitional shelters, meaning they are not available for drop-in emergencies. The daily reports a one-night count of homeless people in Orange County in January 2011 revealed more than 6,900 were living on the streets or in shelters.
With so many folks out there, they are easy targets for serial killers, a characteristic shared with similar murder sprees across the country. The National Coalition for the Homeless, which chronicled more than 1,000 acts of violence against homeless people between 1999 and 2009, has found a pattern has emerged among killers of them. Most were young, under-educated men with either a bias against the homeless or attracted to the ease in killing them, the Reg reports.
To donate safety kit items to the homeless, CLICK HERE or drop them off at the Rescue Mission's Village of Hope, 1 Hope Drive, Tustin.
The outreach begins this afternoon in Santa Ana.
Every week, the Tustin-based mission's mobile clinic drops into the parking lot at Santa Ana Boulevard and Ross Street, near the Civic Center, to provide free health services and meals to the homeless. Beginning with today's scheduled 4-8 p.m. stop, mission workers will dispense the information and resources to raise awareness and safety for the homeless population.
The nonprofit, which operates the Village of Hope in Tustin, employs biblical principles in programs dedicated to parenting, finance and relationships.
|Homeless man's killer|
Welter added a multi-agency task force of investigators searching for the killer is "pretty certain" the same man murdered all three victims.
The Orange County Sheriff's Department and its investigative powers have joined the task force that is also composed of Welter's agency and the Brea and Placentia police departments.
No further evidence linking the crimes was revealed at today's press conference. It was previously stated that besides being homeless the three victims died the same way: stabbed multiple times while sleeping alone. But Anaheim Police now say that may not be correct when it comes to all victims.
Today's revelation of an increased threat to Orange County's vulnerable population shows authorities were wise to visit homeless camps last weekend and pass out flyers warning that someone may be targeting them. Homeless people have been urged to "buddy up" by watching out for one another and sleeping at least in pairs.
|Courtesy of Anaheim Police Department|
|Fatal stabbing victims (from left): James McGillivray, Lloyd Middaugh and Paulus Cornelius Smit.|
The body of James McGillivray, 53, was found with multiple stab wounds Dec. 21 at a retail center in the 100 block of North Bradford Avenue, Placentia. A time stamp from surveillance video that captured his slaying shows he was killed Dec. 20.
The body of Lloyd Middaugh, 42, was found with multiple stab wounds Dec. 28 near the 91 freeway overpass along the Santa Ana River Trail between Tustin and Lakeview avenues in Anaheim Hills.
The most-recent victim was 57-year-old Paulus Cornelius Smit, whose body was found Friday evening near a puddle of blood at the base of a stairwell behind Yorba Linda Public Library.
The task force has released these photos from the McGillivray killing scene:
|Photos courtesy of Anaheim Police Department|
|The killer, wearing a dark hoodie in upper left of photo, approaches James McGillivray.|
|The killer stands next to the homeless man's body.|
|The white 2002 or 2003 Toyota Corolla the killer drove off in.|
It is hoped the image of the killer and/or the car he drove off in will jog someone's memory. He was previously described as 18 to 25, between 5-feet-6 and 5-feet-9 with a thin build and wearing all black clothing.
Anyone with information is asked to call the Anaheim Police Department at 714.765.1944 or email detectives at email@example.com.