A Camarillo man was charged Tuesday for the murder of a man whose remains were discovered in the Santa Monica Mountains in October.
The suspect, Rotherie Durell Foster, 37, is accused of first-degree murder in the killing of Jose Velasquez, 35, according to the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.
Foster was also charged with eight counts of identity theft, two counts of forgery, being a convicted felon in possession of a firearm and several prior strike charges.
Foster was the victim’s work acquaintance, and authorities say he allegedly murdered Velasquez for financial gain.
The suspect allegedly used Velasquez’s debit card and checking account in Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
Velasquez immigrated from Honduras at the age of 15, settled in Simi Valley in 2016 and worked as a plumber, according to the Los Angeles Times. After obtaining his general contractor’s license in 2021, he moved to an apartment in Camarillo.
Velasquez went missing on July 27 after his family said he was enjoying drinks with friends near the Janss Marketplace in Thousand Oaks.
His work van was found about four miles from the shopping mall on Aug. 1, though it did not appear anything was stolen from the van, authorities said.
On Oct. 3, hikers came across Velasquez’s remains in the Santa Monica Mountains off Mulholland Highway.
The victim died from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office.
“Jose was an incredibly hard worker who was starting his own plumbing business when his life was viciously and cruelly cut short,” said Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko. “The charges filed today are among the most violent and serious we see in the courthouse, and are a result of the strong teamwork between the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and our prosecutors.”
Foster was scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday, but the matter was postponed to Feb. 17. He was denied bail.
“I will never find a good reason for him to kill him,” the victim’s aunt said during a news conference Wednesday.