UPDATE, JAN. 11, 6:23 P.M.: An autopsy determined that 49-year-old homeless man Antonio Ruiz Martinez, whose body was found Monday morning in Santa Ana, next to an auto shop's pickup truck with a large amount of blood inside, died as a result of "gastrointestinal issues," according to police.
Foul play has therefore been ruled out.
UPDATE, JAN. 10, 3:17 P.M.: The 49-year-old homeless man found dead behind a Santa Ana audio and tire store Monday morning has been identified as Antonio Ruiz Martinez.
As workers were opening the shop in the 100 block of South Harbor Boulevard around 9 a.m., Martinez's body was found next to a pickup truck with a large amount of blood inside.
Martinez, who was known to shop employees, was allowed to spend the night in the truck to stay warm. Despite no apparent stab or gunshot wounds on the man, the large amount of blood prompted Santa Ana Police to assign homicide investigators to the case, pending results from an autopsy Wednesday that might indicate internal bleeding played a part in a natural cause of death.
The multi-agency task force investigating the fatal stabbings of homeless men in North County was contacted about Martinez's death, because the body was discovered only a few blocks from the Santa Ana River Trail. It was along the same trail in Anaheim Hills where the body of a homeless man was found, a death that has been linked to a suspected serial killer who may have also struck in Placentia and Yorba Linda.
However, Santa Ana Police have ruled out a serial killer being responsible for the death of Martinez.
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UPDATE, JAN. 9, 5:49 P.M.: An autopsy is scheduled to be performed Tuesday on the body of a 49-year-old homeless man found behind a Santa Ana audio and tire store this morning, but police are ruling out his death being at the hands of a serial killer.
There are no obvious stab wounds on the man's body, according to Corporal Anthony Bertagna, the Santa Ana Police spokesman.
While the dead man's name has not been released, the Los Angeles Times spoke with someone who reportedly said he frequents the area where the body was found, knew the deceased as "Wendy" and that he last saw Wendy around 6 p.m. Sunday, apparently intoxicated and stumbling toward a convenience store.
Wendy's body was discovered about 15 hours later as the auto shop was opening.
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ORIGINAL POST, JAN. 9, 4:18 P.M.: Santa Ana homicide detectives are trying to determine if a homeless man whose body was found behind a tire store this morning was murdered and, if so, whether he is the fourth victim of a serial killer.
However, police caution it is much too early to make any connections to the recent string of homeless males murdered in Orange County and that it may very well turn out the man died of natural causes.
His body was discovered around 9 a.m. near 1st Street and Harbor Boulevard. Like the victims who authorities fear may have been slayed by a serial killer, the unidentified man was homeless and, as near as can be told at this point, alone.
James Patrick McGillivray, 53, was stabbed to death Dec. 20 near a shopping center in Placentia, where nearby surveillance cameras caught the attack and exposed the best leads investigators have to a killer. Lloyd Middaugh, 42, was stabbed to death near the Santa Ana River Trail in Anaheim Hills on Dec. 28. Paulus Cornelius Smit, 57, was killed at a stairwell behind Yorba Linda public library on Dec. 30.