When deputies opened the trunk of a car abandoned on Golden Valley Road and found the lifeless body of David Flores, they knew little of how he ended up there.
That was 17 months ago, and homicide detectives are still trying to answer that question, sharing scant information with the Flores family about the progress of their investigation.
Flores, 28, described by friends who knew him in Northern California as a gentle, quiet-spoken hard-working father of one little girl, was found dead inside the trunk of his 2005 blue Honda Accord stopped beside the northbound lanes of Golden Valley Road on May 31, 2015.
A couple of his friends described him as a man devoted to his daughter and eager to work.
Two days before his body was found, Flores had spoken to his sister, Jade, on the phone from Northern California. The conversation was casual, with “nothing weird” about it.
“He said he was going to LA,” Jade told The Signal Friday, from her home in Texas. That was the last she heard from him.
Flores’ daughter is now living with Jade in Texas. She turned six years old a couple of days ago and just started kindergarten, she said.
For Jade, her two sisters, and their mother, the brutal aspects of her brother’s death is still hard to deal with, she said.
“We’re still kind of working through things,” she said. “It’s a work in progress. My mom – she’s suffering.”
Not knowing how her brother ended up murdered – let alone ending up in the Santa Clarita Valley – only adds to the pain and suffering.
In March, detectives with the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Homicide Bureau announced they had a suspect in the Flores murder.
Six months later, the 52-year-old man they identified as their only suspect in the murder is still in custody at the Metropolitan Detention Center in Los Angeles and has still to be formally charged.
“We have made an arrest,” Homicide Detective Lt. Steve Jauch told The Signal in March. “He was arrested on March 2 (2016) in Lancaster by LA County DA prosecutors investigating him for the murder of Jose Flores.”
Prosecutors still investigating the case are in no rush to file murder charges since the accused man is being held behind bars on a federal narcotics warrant, Jauch said.
The Signal has since learned some of the details of the federal case.
The suspect in the Flores murder was one of 18 individuals named in a Grand Jury indictment signed in U.S .District Court in Los Angeles, handed down in December 2010, alleging he and the other defendants were part of a conspiracy to distribute and possess marijuana and crack cocaine in Los Angeles.
Federal prosecutors are going through the list of defendants one by one with no indication of when the case will be concluded.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt