A call regarding a home disturbance in Huntington Beach led to authorities discovering a body in the trunk of a car, and now an arrest has been made.
The original call came in late Monday afternoon around 5:15 p.m. from a home in the 17000 block of Friml Lane, according to a press release from the Huntington Beach Police Department.
Upon arriving and conducting a preliminary investigation, officers were able to locate the body of a female in the back of a sedan parked nearby.
“She had passed away under suspicious circumstances,” HBPD said, noting that no obvious signs of trauma were found on the woman’s body.
Detectives and officials with the HBPD’s Crimes Against Persons unit opened an investigation, and after conducting interviews and collecting evidence, they arrested a person of interest.
He has been identified as Richard Paul Rodriguez, 34, of Holbrook, Arizona. Rodriguez was booked on one charge of murder, police said.
Neighbors told KTLA 5’s Ellina Abovian that Rodriguez’s adoptive parents live on the street where the car was parked, and that he had driven from Arizona to visit them weeks before Monday evening’s gruesome discovery. Rodriguez’s adoptive mother later confirmed that narrative.
A Facebook post from the Holbrook, Arizona, Police Department confirmed Rodriguez’s identity and also identified the woman as 54-year-old Christi Lynn Romero, although the identity of the deceased woman found in the trunk of the vehicle has not been confirmed by authorities in Huntington Beach.
Romero filed a protective order against Rodriguez on Thursday, according to authorities in Holbrook. She was reported missing on Monday, and her car was reported as stolen.
It is believed that the two may have been involved in a romantic relationship.
The car seen in the post closely resembles the car police were investigating in Huntington Beach, though it is not known if it is the same vehicle.
Anyone with information regarding the ongoing investigation is asked to call Detective S. McCollom at 714-960-8848. Callers wishing to remain anonymous can contact O.C. Crime Stoppers at 1-855-847-6227.