You can go your whole life without getting mentioned in your daily newspaper. Larry Thomas Dominguez can count being the main subject in at least two bizarre Orange County Register articles. The first was published in 2006, when a naked Dominguez would not leave his burning house in the 2500 block of North Hesperian Street, Santa Ana, until a neighbor got him pants. The next came today, when he was arrested on suspicion of homicide after human bones were unearthed at the same address.
The 62-year-old, who'd bought the house in 1968, only sold the place a year ago, and the new couple living there was digging into a 2-foot-tall berm in the backyard with a tractor when they found bones and a skull that were later determined to be human.
Santa Ana Police, who got the call around 2 p.m. Sunday, heard from the homeowners that Dominguez had told them a previous occupant had buried dog bones in the same area. For that reason, the couple saved that area of the yard last for landscaping.
Cops tracked down Dominguez, who had lived in the home for about 20 years, at a Santa Ana mobile home park around midnight. By then they had declared his former residence a crime scene. He was arrested after the bones were confirmed to be human. It's now up to the coroner to determine how the unidentified person died.
Neighbors who remember Dominguez have described him for print and television media as "weird," "creepy" and a "pack rat." That, one unidentified man said, is what helped fuel the December 2006 fire that investigators eventually deemed accidental.
The Register report on that morning fire had a naked Dominguez using a newspaper to try to knock down the blaze, which only made matters worse. His face was already burned when neighbor Renan Disner entered through the front door and tried in vain to remove Dominguez, who by then had traded the newspaper for a garden hose.
They reportedly wrestled before a front window exploded and Disner convinced Dominguez he was not only risking his own life but his neighbor's as well. That's when Dominguez noted he was not wearing a stitch of clothing, and Disner yelled to one of his kids to grab a pair of his pants. Once clothed, Dominguez came outside.
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"Having a neighbor like that is priceless," Dominguez was quoted as saying at the time.
He would be treated for burns at a local hospital, as would a firefighter. The house would burn to the ground, and a neighbor would later buy the property from Dominguez so the purchaser's grown child could live there. That's when Dominguez made the remarks about dog bones being buried out back.
In light of the bones being recovered, police are re-opening the investigation into the fire, according to Cpl. Anthony Bertagna, the Santa Ana Police spokesman, who added the couple now living in the home is not suspected of wrongdoing.