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Latest O.C. homeless man's death not tied to others, police say

January 9, 2012 |  4:49 pm

Santa Ana police search area where homeless man was found deadThe latest death of a middle-aged homeless man in Orange County does not appear to be related to the string of stabbings that authorities say appears to be the work of a serial killer.

The body of a man was discovered early Monday behind an audio and tire shop by an employee opening  for business.

Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, a spokesman for the Santa Ana Police Department, said officials do not believe the death is connected to the fatal stabbings of three homeless men.

Unlike the other cases, Bertagna said there were no obvious stab wounds on the body found Monday.

"There's nothing that leads us to believe it's related to the serial killings," he said.

An autopsy is expected to be performed Tuesday, he said. Authorities have not released a name for the victim but said he was 49.

David Whealton, 55, who frequents the area where the body was found, said he knew the man as "Wendy." He said he last saw him Sunday and that he appeared to be intoxicated, stumbling toward a convenience story about 6 p.m.

"He was drinking, and drinking heavily," Wealton said.

Santa Ana police had been in contact with a joint task force created last week in response to the recent killings of three homeless men in nearby Anaheim, Placentia and Yorba Linda.

Across the county, at the urging of authorities, many of the homeless in Orange County are seeking beds at emergency shelters, or making sure to sleep in groups outdoors, and taking pains to make themselves less conspicuous on the streets and in riverbeds.


Police warn homeless about serial killer

Police hunt serial killer in Orange County

Homeless seek shelter as police hunt for serial killer

--Nicole Santa Cruz

Photo: Scene in Santa Ana where body of homeless man was found. Credit: Nicole Santa Cruz