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Daughter talks about father slain in O.C. stabbings of homeless men

January 12, 2012 |  5:30 am

Surveillance video shows a figure moving toward James Patrick McGillivray, who was killed in a Placentia shopping center Dec. 20.

Rebecca McGillivray said she knew the TV image of one of the homeless men killed in Orange County was  her father, but it was not the man she remembered.

James Patrick McGillivray, 53, was the first homeless man to be murdered in a string of stabbings that began Dec. 20 in northern Orange County. Her recollection was of a far different man than the one shown on the broadcast.

Rebecca McGillivray described him as a “blast” -- a fun-loving father who could always provide a laugh. Though she hadn’t had contact with him in about a decade, she spoke fondly of him Wednesday, even as she grappled with how he died.

PHOTOS: Serial killer targeting Orange County homeless

“To find out this happened to my father, it’s horrendous,” she said in an interview with The Times.

Two other men -- Paulus Smit, 57, and Lloyd Middaugh, 42 -- were also killed in recent weeks. A task force involving five law enforcement agencies is investigating the crimes.

While the family members of the victims anxiously await updates from police on the investigation into the slayings, some say they are grateful for the efforts thus far, including an unusual roadblock conducted Tuesday night.

Police stopped and interviewed drivers across the street from the Placentia shopping center where McGillivray was killed, looking for any information in the case. Sometimes, police canvassing is used to investigate drug crimes or child abductions, but rarely is the method used in Orange County.

“This is the first time I have ever been a part of one, and honestly the first time in the area that I’ve ever seen that form of information-gathering employed,” said Sgt. Bob Dunn, public information officer for the Anaheim Police Department.

“We obtained information for the task force to follow up on,” said Dunn, who would not comment on the specific findings of the canvassing.

Authorities believe the homicides are the work of a serial kille, and have released grainy photographs captured from surveillance video that show a male suspect dressed in dark clothing. A white, late-model Toyota Corolla is a vehicle of interest.


Police probe string of O.C. deaths

O.C. serial killer sought in deaths of homeless men

Vulnerable homeless men try to foil Orange County killer

-- Nicole Santa Cruz in Orange County

Photo: A surveillance video shows a figure moving toward James Patrick McGillivray, who was killed in a Placentia shopping center Dec. 20. Credit: Anaheim Police Department