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Mystery deepens over Glendale man's body found buried in forest

February 1, 2013 | 10:36 am

A 25-year-old missing Glendale man whose beaten body was discovered in a shallow grave in Angeles National Forest last month was a “normal guy” who didn’t have a criminal history, officials said.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department homicide detectives and search-and-rescue teams discovered Nicholas Carter’s body on Jan. 19 off Big Tujunga Canyon Road at mile marker 2.72, officials said.

Coroner’s officials have determined Carter died of blunt force trauma.

Lt. Mike Rosson of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said Carter didn’t have anything suspicious or unusual in his past that would point toward a motive. “He holds down a job,” Rosson said. “He’s a normal guy.”

Carter was last seen the evening of Jan. 7 watching a football game with a friend, he said. Carter, he said, didn’t have a car and lived with a roommate.

A hiker reported finding a shallow grave on the afternoon of Jan. 8 in the Big Tujunga Canyon Road area at mile marker 2.92. But as the sun set, detectives and coroner’s investigators held off their search until the following morning for better visibility, he said.

At the time of the initial discovery, sheriff’s homicide detectives discovered dragging marks, a trail of blood and the shallow grave, which after being excavated came up empty, Rosson said.

While homicide detectives had no other leads, they returned to the crime lab with the blood samples, which were analyzed and confirmed to be of human origin, he said.

When searchers returned to the area 10 days later, they found Carter’s clothed, buried body not far from the first grave site, Rosson said. The area — which is frequented by hikers — appeared to be “very well-traveled,” Rosson said.

The day before Carter’s body was uncovered, Glendale police logged a missing-persons report for Carter at about 8:30 p.m. A friend of Carter’s posted a message and photos of him at 11:15 p.m. on Jan. 18 on Facebook asking anyone who knew about his disappearance to notify her, noting the missing-persons report.

A Facebook page attributed to a Nicholas Carter in Glendale described him as having studied business management economics at UC Santa Cruz.

Among his last posts on Jan. 7 were about getting a new phone charger and, at about 4:30 p.m., liking Moroccan tea. The last post on the account — a link to a video for the rapper Gunplay — was at 6:13 p.m.

Sheriff’s officials said no suspect or motive has been identified in connection with Carter’s death. Anyone with information about Carter’s case may call Det. Sylvia Brossoit at (323) 890-5500.

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-- Veronica Rocha, Glendale News Press

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