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Ex-homeowner arrested after remains found in yard; murder suspected

January 28, 2013 |  1:46 pm

The former owner of a Santa Ana home where a human skull, rib cage and other remains were found in the backyard was arrested Monday on suspicion of murder, authorities said.

Larry Dominguez, 65, was taken into custody after speaking to detectives, said Santa Ana police Cpl. Anthony Bertagna. Bertagna said statements Dominguez made to detectives led to the arrest — along with "the fact that we have human remains" — but did not know specifics of the interview.

The current owners of the home in the 2500 block of North Hesperian Street discovered the bones Sunday afternoon as they excavated the back yard, Bertagna said.

The house was the site of a 2006 fire that left Dominguez with second-degree burns and destroyed the house, the Orange County Register reported at the time. Dominguez had lived at the home since 1968, the newspaper reported.

Bertagna said a family from the neighborhood recently purchased the property and rebuilt the house.

Evy Disner, whose husband rescued a naked Dominguez from the burning house, told NBC 4 that Dominguez kept to himself but was not a source of complaints in the neighborhood.

"He was an extremely nice person, always friendly," Disner said.

An anthropologist who was at the scene Monday was to decide whether it would be possible to determine a cause of death from remains, said Deputy Mitch Sigal of the Orange County Coroner’s office.

Cadaver dogs were going to check the entire yard, Bertagna said.

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— Adolfo Flores and Kate Mather

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