The grandson of a 78-year-old woman who was found beaten to death in her Lake View Terrace home is being sought by homicide investigators in her killing, Los Angeles police said Friday.
Joseph “Joey” Kushner, 36, was living with his grandmother, Armida Custodio, at the time of her death. He has not been seen since Monday, police said.
Custodio’s body was discovered Wednesday night, when officers were called by family members to do a welfare check at her home in the 11300 block of Terra Vista Way.
She was beaten to death some time between Monday and Wednesday, Los Angeles Police Department Detective Timo Illig said at a news conference Friday afternoon in Pacoima. Illig would not say what type of weapon was used.
Kushner was the last known person to be with his grandmother, police said Friday afternoon in a news release that described him as a suspect.
"He's basically disappeared off the grid at this point," Illig said.
Illig called Kushner a "potential suspect."
Kushner uses public transportation, especially city buses, extensively. He is 5 feet 10 inches tall, 150 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes.
He has had weapons in the past, and Illig said anyone who sees him should not approach him but instead call 911.
His father, who spoke at the news conference, said Kushner is schizophrenic and needs medication. He hears voices and can be "verbally dangerous" when he stops taking his medicine, Steven Kushner said.
The elder Kushner, a retired Metro employee, said his son can function well and take care of himself and has never harmed anyone physically before. He has a lifetime free bus pass.
"I'm very worried. Joey, I love you, please come home. I'd like to talk to you," Steven Kushner said.
Asked if his son was capable of killing, his father said, "No, I don't. ... I don't think there's no way that he did that."
His son has run away before, to Las Vegas and Northern California, Steven Kushner said.
In addition to wanting to contact him to talk to him about Custodio’s death, police want to find him for his own safety, Illig said.
The detective stressed that the case remained under investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to call Valley Bureau Homicide Detective Dave Peteque at 818-374-1934. During nonbusiness hours or on weekends, call 877-527-3247. Anonymous tipsters may call Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.