Southern California breaking news and trends

Death of Malibu kitchen worker labeled 'upper respiratory infection'

malibu sign

Photo by Robert Garcia via Flickr Creative Commons

Investigators say the mysterious death of a Malibu kitchen worker outside of Guido's restaurant was not crime-related. Carlos Ivan Rodas died of an upper respiratory infection, according to homicide detectives.

Authorities say 32-year-old Rodas left the restaurant to take out the trash on Sunday night and staggered to the parking lot in front of the business where he collapsed and died.

The announcement raises questions, however, as multiple reports noted the presense of an overwhelming amount of blood at the scene. 

Coroner’s spokesman Ed Winter told the L.A. Times he could not discuss the case because it was placed on a security hold Wednesday morning. The reason for the hold was unclear. 

Conflicting information initially circulated about the cause of the dishwasher's death. 

Early indications suggested to authorities he may have been a shooting victim. Some time after, it was reported he had been beaten to death by multiple assailants. Later, there was cause to consider it a death by natural causes.


Carlos Ivan Rodas ID'd in bloody Malibu mystery death

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Photo by Robert Garcia via Flickr Creative Commons

Carlos Ivan Rodas of Los Angeles has been identified as the 32-year-old dishwasher who died mysteriously on Sunday in front of Guido's restaurant in Malibu, where he worked.

Coroner’s officials say an autopsy is scheduled for Wednesday, and results will likely end speculation about the cause of death. Reports are not expected before Thursday, say officials. 

Conflicting information circulated about the circumstances leading up to the victim being found in a pool of blood in the shopping center at Cross Creek Road and Pacific Coast Highway. 

Early Sheriff's Department indications suggested the man has been shot. Some time after, it was reported he had been beaten brutally by multiple assailants. Later, there was cause to believe he may have died of natural causes.

LASD spokesman Steve Whitmore told KPCC it was not unusual for details to change significantly during the initial stages of an investigation. All possibilities are being considered, he said.


Guido's restaurant employee death is a Malibu mystery

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Photo by Robert Garcia via Flickr Creative Commons

Nearly every detail in the unusual case of a man who died outside of Guido's restaurant in Malibu on Sunday night is unconfirmed.

KPCC spoke to LA Sheriff's Department spokesperson Steve Whitmore who said authorities are investigating all possibilities, but that he could not confirm any of the specifics of the case. 

Initially, the death was believed to be a shooting, according to the L.A. Times. Later, it was widely reported as a brutal beating at the hands of multiple assailants.

Now, ABC 7 is saying natural causes may be to blame for the death of the man believed to be a mid-20s dishwasher named "Carlos." A lot of blood was reported at the scene, but the man showed no signs of physical trauma, according to authorities, they say.

An official cause of death has not been determined, however, and the case is still being investigated as a homicide.


Brutal attack leaves employee dead outside Malibu restaurant

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Photo by Robert Garcia via Flickr Creative Commons

An employee of a Malibu restaurant died after an attack in the parking lot minutes before closing on Sunday night, say authorities. 

Initially reported as a shooting, authorities now say the man suffered a brutal beating by multiple suspects.

The man, whose identity was not released, was described as mid-20s, and worked in the kitchen of Guido's restaurant off PCH on Cross Creek Road, NBC LA explains. 

Tony Waldrop, the manager of the restaurant, said "He was taking out the trash and never came back," reports the L.A. Times.

Authorities say the victim was confronted and attacked by several subjects in a parking lot behind the restaurant. The victim reportedly escaped and staggered to the front of the shopping center where he collapsed. He was pronounced dead on the scene.


Pepperdine University leader Maurice Hilliard found dead in Malibu

Pepperdine University

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The body of Pepperdine University's athletic chaplain, assistant coach, and program director, Maurice Hillard, was found Monday on the beach in Malibu. The campus leader was reportedly out for a walk when he collapsed, reports KTLA.

Hilliard's body was discovered near Corral Canyon in the 2600 block of Pacific Coast Highway around 9 a.m. The exact cause of death was not determined, however the coroner noted no sign of foul play or trauma to the body. An autopsy will be conducted.

Pepperdine's president, Andrew K. Benton, released a statement Monday afternoon:

"We are saddened to learn that Maurice Hilliard, our University Athletic Chaplain and program director at the Boone Center for the Family, died earlier today. Maurice touched the lives of so many of us at Pepperdine, especially our athletes who looked up to Maurice as a friend, counselor, and mentor. He will be greatly missed.

Maurice grew up in Los Angeles and earned a bachelor's degree at the University of La Verne and a Master's of Divinity in Apologetics at Biola University. He spent 10 years as a basketball coach at Pepperdine and then became the program director at the Boone Center for the Family.

Maurice recently published a book called The Price of a Pearl where he shared what he learned through teaching, coaching, and mentoring young adults. He said he wrote the book for 'those who will open their hearts and minds to the healing power of God and who are willing to receive help.'

Maurice was frequently invited to speak at conferences and seminars about the transformational power of God in the lives of young adults.

More information will be provided as it becomes available.Please offer your prayers for Maurice's family and help each other through this difficult time."