Three people, including the victim’s stepdaughter, have been arrested and charged with murder in connection with the death of a missing Venice man whose burned body was found in a dry lake bed in Joshua Tree earlier this month, officials said Tuesday.
The victim, 72-year-old William Webb, had been reported missing out before his body was found, according to LAPD Officer Jader Chavez.
Neighbor Eileen Nugent told KTLA his son alerted police to his disappearance.
Webb was killed on Aug. 15, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
His charred remains were found near Sunway Road and Rosehedge Avenue the following morning. Evidence located at the scene prompted homicide detectives to begin investigating, authorities said.
Three people were subsequently arrested and charged with murder in connection with the man’s death, according to the DA’s office.
The criminal complaint identifies the suspects as Haena Worthing, 44, of Marina del Rey; John Schiefer, 38, of Nipomo; and Shavonne Webster, 40, of Winchester, Indiana.
The DA’s office alleged that Shiefer and Webster used a hammer to kill the victim, according to the complaint.
Neighbors identified Worthing as the victim’s stepdaughter, according to neighbors. They said there was contention between Worthing’s mother — who was married to Webb — over the sale of their home.
“Their house has been in foreclosure a couple times, and also it was recently sold,” Nugent said. “His wife didn’t want to sell it, but he did.”
“And she’s still in it,” another neighbor told KTLA, noting the house was in foreclosure three to four years ago.
Shiefer and Webster were arrested last Wednesday, while Worthing was apprehended on Monday, jail records showed.
Worthing appeared in court Tuesday for her arraignment, which was continued to Sept. 9. She faces a possible maximum sentence of 25 years to life in convicted as charged, according to prosecutors.
The arraignments for Shiefer and Webster are scheduled for Sept. 9; the two defendants face up to 26 years to life in convicted as charged.
All three are being held on $2 million bail.
KTLA’s Jennifer Thang and Dianne Sanchez contributed to this story.
Correction: A previous version of the story incorrectly stated the Worthing entered a not guilty plea during her court appearance; her arraignment was continued. This post has been updated.