Vigil for murder victim, arraignment for murder suspect

Brayan Rodriguez.

As friends gather at College of the Canyons for a candlelight vigil honoring Brayan Rodriguez, prosecutors in Los Angeles formally charged the man whom they identified as his boyfriend and accused of killing him.

The vigil, slated to begin at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the college’s Mesa Center, was organized by Andro Hollaander, who has been busily trying to raise funds for the victim’s family, to cover funeral costs.

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

Rodriguez, who was reported missing Friday, was found dead Sunday afternoon in a closet inside a home on the 23600 block of Via Valer, near Valencia Glen Park.

Lt. Rodney Moore of the Los Angeles County Sheriff Department’s Homicide Bureau, said Sunday he believes the 20-year-old Rodriguez had died of strangulation.

In the early hours of Monday morning, detectives arrested 21-year-old Christian Ortiz on suspicion of murder.

Ortiz appeared Wednesday in San Fernando Superior Court where he was formally charged with the murder of Rodriguez, and identified by prosecutors as his boyfriend, a spokesman for the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said in a news release issued Wednesday afternoon.

Deputy District Attorney Julie Kramer said Christian Alexander Ortiz of Valencia faces one count of murder, DA spokesman Ricardo Santiago said in the release.

Arraignment was scheduled today and continued to Nov. 16 in Department S of the Los Angeles County Superior Court, San Fernando Branch.

Ortiz is charged with killing Rodriguez on Friday, the day he went missing. The victim’s body was discovered two days later in the defendant’s closet.

If convicted as charged, Ortiz faces a possible maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison. Bail is scheduled at $2 million.

The case remains under investigation by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Rodriguez was reported missing Friday, prompting searches for the young man throughout the weekend.

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

More than $8,100 has been raised to cover funeral expenses for the Rodriguez family through the online fundraising site GoFundme.

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