UPDATE: Homicide detectives arrest one in strangulation death

Crime scene tape marks the perimeter of a murder investigation in Valencia on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Austin Dave/The Signal

Homicide detectives investigating the strangulation death of a man whose body was found in a home near Valencia Glen Park Sunday afternoon arrested a 21-year-old man early Monday.

Christian Ortiz was arrested about 3 a.m. Monday on suspicion of murder, Lt. Rodney Moore, of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Homicide Bureau told The Signal Monday.

“We are not confirming the name of the deceased person at this time,” Moore said. “We have arrested another individual for murder.

“The murder victim is an unidentified murder victim right now,” he said.

Homicide detectives began probing the circumstances surrounding the death of a male adult that occurred shortly before 4 p.m. Sunday at the 23600 block of Via Valer.

Based on interviews and evidence at the location, it was determined that the unidentified victim died at the hands of another and the suspect was responsible for his death, according to a LASD news release issued Sunday.


Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies canvass the area surrounding a murder scene in Valencia on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Austin Dave/The Signal

Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station deputies canvass the area surrounding a murder scene in Valencia on Sunday, Sept. 24, 2017. Austin Dave/The Signal

“The suspect, Christian Ortiz, a male Hispanic adult has been booked for murder. At this time we are not revealing the motive for the crime,” the news release reads.

The cause of death is believed to be strangulation.

Ortiz remains in custody, Moore said, with bail set at $1 million.

He is scheduled to appear in San Fernando Superior Court.

Meanwhile, investigators with the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner are trying to reach the next of kin for a man whose body was found Sunday, spokesman Ed Winter told The Signal Monday.

Although the deceased man has not been identified by officials investigating the death, friends began mourning the death Sunday of 20-year-old Brayan “Brian” Jose Rodriguez, of Valencia, who was reported missing Friday.

In the search to find the missing man, The Signal interviewed Ortiz on the weekend about Rodriguez.

A search party of 30 people assembled on Sunday morning and spread out across the Santa Clarita Valley.




Heading the search efforts for Brayan on behalf of his mother, is Darlene Ocasek, a friend of the Rodriguez family.

Rodriguez was set to check in at the University of California San Diego on Saturday, but failed to do so.

Friends of Rodriguez began raising money for his funeral on the fundraising site GoFundme.

Andro Hollaander, of Valencia, who is collecting funds for the Rodriguez family, posted a tribute that reads:

“College of the Canyons lost an incredible person last week. Brayan was remarkably intelligent, caring, funny, humble, thoughtful, and giving. Please consider donating towards his funerary costs at this GoFundMe.

“All proceeds will go directly to his family for funerary costs. Donating will help his grieving family during their time of need and will ease their financial burden.

“Your tribute to the Brayan means an enormous lot to his family and the community that lost him last week. Brian touched many lives and many hearts over his years at College of the Canyons.”

By late Monday afternoon, more than $2,700 in funds had been raised by the online effort.

Hollaander closed his GoFundMe post with: “Let us show our support for him and the countless individuals whose lives he touched over the years.”



One supporter touched by Rodriguez was COC Chancellor Dr. Dianne Van Hook who remembered him in an email which read: “Many members of our campus community are grieving today after learning that a well-known and well-loved recent graduate died this weekend.

“Brayan “Brian” Rodriguez, 20, graduated with honors from College of the Canyons in June.  He was accepted to transfer to UC San Diego and was scheduled to begin classes there this week as a pre-med biology major.

Brian was reported missing on Friday, and tragically, was found dead at a home in Valencia late yesterday afternoon.

“During his time at College of the Canyons, Brian distinguished himself as a committed student.  The MESA lab was a favorite hangout, and he worked as a math and chemistry tutor in the TLC.  He was also a member of the Phi Theta Kappa honor society and the college’s American Medical Student Association chapter.

“College faculty, staff, and administrators fortunate enough to know Brian remember him not only as a bright, talented student, but as someone caring, humble and funny who easily made friends.

“His death leaves a void in the Cougar Family, and in the many lives he touched at College of the Canyons and beyond.  Many current and former students have been gathering at the MESA Center.  If you knew Brian, I encourage you to visit and sign a card for his family, or simply look at the many pictures on display of Brian smiling and be reminded of his energy and infectious enthusiasm.

“Please know that counselors are on hand to help during this difficult time, and they will be available at MESA and at the Student Health Center for anyone who wants to talk more.

“This is indeed a sad day for College of the Canyons, and we join Brian’s family and friends in grieving the loss of someone who meant so much to so many.

“Thank you for the care and concern that each of you give to our students, and to each other as colleagues.  That commitment to meeting the needs of others epitomizes the spirit of our Cougar Family, and I know it be will a great comfort to us all in the days ahead.”

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on Twitter @jamesarthurholt


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