Southern California breaking news and trends

Body found in liquor store fridge in Hawaiian Gardens belonged to store’s owner, Hoa Vi Tran

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The Beer & Wine Market on Carson Street in Hawaiian Gardens.

The person whose body was discovered bound and gagged, shot to death and stuffed into the refrigerator of a Hawaiian Gardens liquor store has been identified, and it was indeed the store’s owner.

Hoa Vi Tran bought the Beer & Wine Market, located at 12321 Carson St., eight years ago -- soon after the previous owner was fatally stabbed inside the store during a botched robbery, the L.A. Times reports.

Investigators do not believe the two killings are related, but events in that liquor store have rattled neighbors, the Times says.

Tran, 40, was “just as sweet as he can be,” one regular patron told the Times. Others described him as quiet, hardworking and friendly.

Investigators believe Tran was murdered execution-style -- tied up and shot in the head -- not long before his body was discovered by sheriff’s deputies Monday afternoon.

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Body found in hole in San Bernardino backyard identified as local 21-year-old man

Police say they found a decomposing body partially buried in a rental home’s backyard in San Bernardino, and have identified the person as 21-year-old Angel Cortez.

According to San Bernardino police, the body was found yesterday morning behind a home on the 200 block of East 11th Street after the landlord dropped by to fix the place up for renting and smelled a suspicious odor.

The landlord called police, who found the body in a five-foot hole in the yard covered with pieces of wood and other debris, the San Bernardino Sun reports.

Police released the victim’s identity today, according to the Sun. It is not known exactly how long Cortez, a San Bernardino resident, was dead before his body was discovered.

Although Cortez’s death has not been officially ruled a homicide, San Bernardino police homicide Sgt. Gary Robertson amusingly told the Sun, “This is not normal, finding bodies in holes.”

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Autopsy: Man whose body was found tied up in liquor store fridge had been shot in head

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The Beer & Wine Market on Carson Street in Hawaiian Gardens.

Authorities say the man whose body was discovered bound and gagged inside the refrigerator of a Hawaiian Gardens liquor store had been shot in the head.

The Daily Breeze reports that an autopsy by the county coroner’s office revealed the cause of death Tuesday. The man’s name has not been released, and yesterday authorities were still trying to contact next of kin.

According to reports, a patron of the Beer & Wine Market at 12321 Carson St. entered the store Monday afternoon at about 4:30 p.m. and found its front door open and the lights off. Although earlier reports indicated he had discovered the body, the Breeze says he called 911, and sheriff’s deputies searched the store and found the body in an opened fridge.

As of yesterday, investigators were still trying to determine whether the victim worked at the store. Neighbors told KTLA that the store’s owner, described as a man in his 40s, kept the place open only sporadically.

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Body found bound and gagged inside refrigerator of Hawaiian Gardens liquor store

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The Beer & Wine Market on Carson Street in Hawaiian Gardens.

Investigators are trying to figure out why a man’s bound and gagged body was stuffed into a liquor store refrigerator in Hawaiian Gardens, and who put it there.

According to KTLA, a patron entered the Beer & Wine Market at 12321 Carson St. yesterday at about 4:45 p.m., and came upon a disturbing scene: The store’s front door was open and its lights off, and no one was there. Inside, the doors to one of the refrigerators was open, and inside the patron found the body -- tied up and gagged.

The patron immediately called 911.

The L.A. County Sheriff’s Department, which is investigating, has not identified the victim.

This particular liquor store seems to be strangely cursed: The previous owner of the place was killed inside the store 10 years ago, according to KTLA.

Neighbors told the news station that the current owner, described as a man in his 40s, kept it open only sporadically. It was not immediately clear whether the store’s owner was the victim in this grisly crime.

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