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Officials probe stabbing deaths of Calif. homeless

Three homeless men have been stabbed to death in Orange County in 10 days. Detectives are now investigating whether someone is targeting the county’s homeless.

The first stabbing occurred Dec. 21 outside of a shopping center in the 100 block of N. Bradford Avenue in Placentia. James McGillivray, 53, was found dead with multiple stab wounds. Eight days later, Lloyd Middaugh, 42, was found along a riverbed trail under the Riverside Freeway in Anaheim.

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Paulus Cornelius Smit, 57, was found stabbed to death Dec. 30 in a stairwell just outside of the Yorba Linda Library in the 18100 block of Imperial Highway. His daughter says he was stabbed 15 to 20 times in the chest and someone stole his bicycle.

“He was a proud man,” said Smit’s daughter Julia Smit Lorenzo. “He wouldn’t walk away from a situation or into one. It looks like he was ambushed.”

Born in Amsterdam, Smit’s family called him “Dutch.” Relatives say he was a free spirit who could make bicycles from scratch.

“My dad taught me never to beg,” said Lorenzo. “[He] always knew someone would help. He was street smart. Homelessness was one thing I overcame. He succumbed to it.”

Orange County detectives said it is still not clear whether the stabbings are related.

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