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O.C. serial killer in custody, police say

January 14, 2012 |  4:38 pm

A makeshift memorial for John

Orange County authorities announced Saturday that they believe the man arrested Friday night on suspicion of killing a homeless man is a serial killer who stabbed three other transients in North Orange County over the last few weeks.

"We are extremely confident that we have the man who is responsible for the murders of all four homeless men in Orange County," Anaheim Police Chief John Welter said.

Police identified the man as Itzcoatl Ocampo, 23, of Yorba Linda. 

Ocampo was being held at the Anaheim jail without bail after a homeless man, whom people who live in the area identified only as John, was stabbed to death behind a busy fast-food restaurant late Friday. 

Police have been looking for one man believed to be a serial killer and have conducted roadblocks in Placentia and in Yorba Linda.

Detectives released grainy footage from a security camera showing a man dressed in black and "lying in wait" at the time of the first attack, which occurred Dec. 20. 

That image became the primary lead in the investigation. Detectives were also searching for a white, four-door late-model Toyota Corolla. 

The first attack claimed the life of James Patrick McGillivray, 53. On Dec. 28, Lloyd Middaugh, 42, was found dead near a riverbed trail in Anaheim. Two days later, Paulus Smit, 57, was killed outside the Yorba Linda city library.

Police have been urging homeless people to seek shelter and have gone into homeless encampments throughout Orange County warning those living there that a killer was on the loose.


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

Photo: Chris Juarez, 18, and Savanna Madrid, 6, visit a makeshift memorial for the victim of Friday night's fatal stabbing -- a transient known to them as John -- behind a fast food restaurant in Anaheim where the stabbing took place. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times