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Mummified body of man wanted in stabbing death found near Salton Sea

March 29, 2010 | 11:18 am

The mummified body of an Upland man wanted in the stabbing death of his roommate has been found in a car near the Salton Sea, authorities said Monday.

Workers at a nearby ranch were clearing debris from a wash area with a bulldozer Saturday when they spotted an abandoned blue Nissan Sentra, investigators said. The car appeared to have been parked there for awhile because there were no visible tracks around, said Lt. George Moreno of the Imperial County Sheriff’s Department.

The man was slumped in the driver’s seat with all the windows shut. Papers in his wallet identified him as Javier D. Robinson.

“The body was in a state of mummification,” Moreno said. “We haven’t had the hot weather lately. If it had been the summer, he would have melted into that seat, and we would only have bones and clothes left.”

Robinson, 30, was accused of stabbing and killing Chava Barrasa, 34. Both men lived in a state-run halfway house serving violent offenders with severe mental illnesses.

Robinson allegedly stabbed Barrasa in January and stole another roommate’s car. Robinson had vanished until Saturday's gruesome discovery.

Investigators had not determined how he died, but they found rat poison in the trunk of the car.

“In the past, he had tried to commit suicide using rat poison,” Moreno said. “I don’t know if he took it or just lay down and died.”

-- Ching-Ching Ni

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