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Police: Ex-Marine charged in killings of 4 homeless men linked to 2 more deaths

Itzcoatl Ocampo, 23, who was caught Jan. 13 in Anaheim, Calif., and charged with killing four homeless men, is linked to two other slayings, police said Thursday.

ANAHEIM, Calif. -- An ex-Marine charged with killing four homeless men in Southern California has been linked to the stabbing deaths of a woman and her son, police said Thursday at a news conference.

Itzcoatl Ocampo, 23, has been connected with Eder Herrera, the suspect in the Orange County stabbings in October, said Anaheim Lt. Julia Harvey of the Homeless Homicide Taskforce.

Police would not comment on the connection between Ocampo and Herrera, but based on the location of the crime, the proximity to his residence and the modus operandi (MO), they are linking the two incidents previously thought to be separate, Harvey said.


Raquel Estrada and her son Juan Herrera were killed in October in Yorba Linda, less than two miles from Ocampo's home. Eder Herrera is Raquel Estrada's 24-year-old son and was arrested soon after the two killings.

Ocampo, an Iraq War veteran, was arrested Jan. 13 and charged with the murders of four homeless men in Orange County, including Anaheim, Placentia and Yorba Linda.

Police at the time said they were "extremely confident" that they had taken into custody the man responsible for the slayings.

Warrants: Man held in homeless killings said he stalked victim

Shortly after his arrest, prosecutors said they would consider seeking the death penalty against him.

"In each of these cases, the violence, the number of stab wounds increased," Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas told NBCLA.

Authorities say Ocampo's killing spree targeted James Patrick McGillivray, 53, who was stabbed Dec. 20 near a shopping center in Placentia; Lloyd Middaugh, 42, who was found Dec. 28 near a riverbed trail in Anaheim; Paulus Smit, 57, who was stabbed to death outside a Yorba Linda library on Dec. 30; and John Berry, 64, who was stabbed to death on the day Ocampo was arrested.

Each of the four men was stabbed more than 40 times with a weapon believed to be a 7-inch fixed-blade military-type knife, authorities said.

Before Ocampo's Jan. 13 arrest, police had fanned out across the county better known as the home to Disneyland and multimillion-dollar beachfront homes to urge the homeless to be careful and seek shelter indoors.

An arraignment for Ocampo scheduled for Jan. 18 was postponed to Feb. 17. He remains jailed without bail, NBCLA said.

NBCLosAngeles.com and The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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