LOS ANGELES (AP) — Investigators believe a homeless man killed his wife in an abandoned restaurant, chopped up her body, stuffed it into a suitcase and then calmly rode with it aboard a train before he burned her remains in a parking lot, Los Angeles police said Tuesday.
After Valentino Gutierrez killed his wife last week in a shuttered restaurant in Pasadena, he dismembered her body, stuffed her remains into a large suitcase and boarded a light-rail train at a nearby station, Deputy Chief Justin Eisenberg said.
Gutierrez, 56, who was charged Thursday with murder and arson, didn’t draw any suspicion on the train and hopped aboard his bicycle after he exited the train. With the suitcase in tow, he peddled from a train station to the parking lot of a Home Depot in Los Angeles, where he set the suitcase ablaze.
Detectives still haven’t identified a motive in the case and coroner’s officials have been unable to identify the burned remains. But police believe the victim was Gutierrez’s wife, 31-year-old Tiana Alfred, who has been reported missing.
Most Read Nation & World Stories
- Turkey: 'Atrocious' recording suggests killer used drugs VIEW
- In Malibu, Woolsey Fire claims celebrities' homes
- Sheriff: California wildfire's death toll rises to 48 WATCH
- A reader's guide to 12 Trump administration targets House Democrats are preparing to investigate
- Utility emailed Northern California woman about power-line problems 1 day before fire
The killing was a “particularly disturbing homicide because of its sheer brutality,” Eisenberg said at a news conference Tuesday announcing Gutierrez’s arrest.
Detectives were able to identify Gutierrez as a suspect after they reviewed surveillance video from the transit system that showed a man with a similar suitcase riding a light-rail train, which led investigators to Pasadena.
A police bloodhound tracked Gutierrez’s movements in the neighborhood and when detectives showed photographs from the surveillance video to homeless people in Pasadena, they immediately identified Gutierrez, Capt. William Hays said.
“To dismember an individual like that is pretty grotesque,” Hays said. “It takes a lot of effort and determination by an individual.
Gutierrez made an initial court appearance Tuesday afternoon, but did not enter a plea, prosecutors said. The name of his defense attorney was not immediately known.
Follow Michael Balsamo on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/MikeBalsamo1 .