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Orange County serial homeless killings suspect: Who is Itzcoatl Ocampo?

This photo provided by the Anaheim Police Department shows Itzcoatl Ocampo. Investigators are "extremely confident" that Ocampo is responsible for all four recent killings of homeless men in Orange County.
This photo provided by the Anaheim Police Department shows Itzcoatl Ocampo. Investigators are "extremely confident" that Ocampo is responsible for all four recent killings of homeless men in Orange County. Anaheim Police/AP

Who is the man suspected in the serial killings of four Orange County homeless men during the last three weeks?

He is an Iraq war veteran who was a 2006 graduate of Esparanza High School. Twenty-three-year-old Itzcoatl Ocampo, who lived in Yorba Linda, was chased away from a Friday night attack behind an Anaheim Carl's Jr. and, with help from more than two dozen witnesses, caught about a quarter-mile away in next-door Yorba Linda.

Police arrested him for suspicion of murder, and on Saturday announced they believed they had found the serial killer who had been targeting homeless men in the county, successfully stabbing four of them to death, including the last on Friday night.

"We are extremely confident that we have the man who is responsible for all four murders of homeless men in Orange County," Anaheim police Chief John Welter said Saturday.

High school friend Brian Doyle told the L.A. Times Ocampo had been kicked out the military, but Anaheim police declined to comment on his military service, and a Marine Corps spokesman did not return calls to the Times. Ocampo was, however, believed to have been a Marine.

An uncle, Ifrain Gonzalez, told the Times that Ocampo came home from the war in 2010 "sick," and had been telling relatives that he'd been hearing and seeing things. He had been living with two siblings in the home that Anaheim police searched after his arrest. The uncle also relayed something disturbing Ocampo had said to a cousin on Christmas Eve: "I did something terrible, but don't worry." The first killing was on Dec. 20.

Police on Saturday would not talk about a motive. Ocampo was denied bail and held in an Anaheim jail cell pending arraignment, which could come as soon as Monday.

The first homeless man stabbed to death was 53-year-old James McGillivray, attacked as he slept outside a Placentia shopping center. Eight days later, the body of Lloyd Middaugh, 42, was discovered on Anaheim's Santa Ana River Trail. On Dec. 30, 57-year-old Paulus Cornelius Smit was found dead behind the Yorba Linda library.

Surveillance video taken prior to McGillivray's slaying in Placentia showed a male wearing a dark hooded sweatshirt. Investigators also were searching for a white, four-door 2000 to 2003 Toyota Corolla shown on the video.

If four murder charges against Ocampo are filed, they could lead to the death penalty.

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