The current discovery of 5-yr-previous Aramazd Andressian Jr.’s stays at a Santa Barbara recreation space was a grim achievement for investigators who had spent greater than two months frantically looking for the boy.

It was additionally a lift for Los Angeles County prosecutors, who had already filed a homicide cost towards the kid’s father with out having discovered the physique.

Authorities haven’t launched particulars concerning the situation of the boy’s stays, however the discovery can solely assist investigators as they attempt to piece collectively what precisely led to his demise.

Pursuing a homicide case with out having discovered a sufferer’s physique presents a singular problem for prosecutors. Missing a corpse means they will’t present jurors the kind of highly effective proof that proves somebody was crushed to dying somewhat than killed in an accident — or tortured quite than slain in self-protection.

“In a homicide case, the physique is probably the most vital piece of proof,” stated Tad DiBiase, a former assistant U.S. lawyer who consults for regulation enforcement on “no physique” murder instances.

Days earlier than the boy’s stays have been discovered, Dist. Atty. Jackie Lacey stated she was assured concerning the choice to file a homicide cost towards Aramazd Andressian Sr.

Her workplace, she famous, has dealt with a number of “no physique” instances with success. 4 years in the past, for instance, a Los Angeles County jury convicted Lyle Stanford Herring for the second-diploma homicide of his spouse, who went lacking 4 years earlier.

And simply final month, Hector Veloz, forty six, was charged with killing his spouse, Sandra Velasco, fifty two, after assembly her on June 18 at a storage unit within the San Fernando Valley, in accordance with prosecutors. Her physique has not been discovered.

Certainly, prosecutors in an identical place can take coronary heart from a profitable monitor document of profitable “no physique” homicide instances in California that goes again greater than one hundred years. In 1879, two brothers in Monterey County have been convicted of setting a person on hearth and stealing his sheep, based on an inventory of such instances compiled by DiBiase.

Listed here are another notable California “no physique” trials by means of the years:


Donald ‘Shorty’ Shea, 35

Though Charles Manson could also be most notorious for the homicide of actress and mannequin Sharon Tate, he was additionally charged with the killing of Donald “Shorty” Shea, who went lacking someday between Aug. sixteen and Sept. 1, 1969.

Shea was described by The Occasions as a “husky bouncer, horse wrangler and Western character actor.” Manson didn’t get together with him as a result of Shea was married to a black lady and Manson suspected he was in charge for a police raid on the Spahn film ranch, a Manson hangout.

Shea’s spouse, Magdalene, informed authorities that when she went to the Spahn ranch to search for her husband, she was advised he had gone to San Francisco.

Detectives believed that Shea was hit on the top on the ranch and pushed by way of dune buggy to a distant spot, the place he was stabbed and ultimately beheaded.

A witness testified that Manson boasted he had reduce Shea up into 9 items and buried him beneath some leaves. And Shea’s spouse testified that her husband wouldn’t simply disappear as a result of he had a very good probability of touchdown a talking half in a film.

Manson and two members of the “Manson Household,” Steve Grogan and Bruce McGregor Davis, have been ultimately convicted in Shea’s killing. Years later, Grogan led authorities to Shea’s physique in change for parole.

Charles Manson is escorted to courtroom for a preliminary listening to in 1969. (John Malmin / Los Angeles Occasions)

April 1991

Ann Mineko Racz, forty two

Ann Racz was so meticulous that when she would go on trip, she would pre-tackle mailing labels beforehand so she might ship postcards to buddies again house.

So when she went lacking days after shifting out of the Valencia residence she shared together with her husband, her family and friends have been instantly suspicious. Racz’s deserted automotive was discovered at a Van Nuys airport shuttle parking zone.

Fifteen years after the lady went lacking, her husband, former Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Sgt. John Racz, was charged together with her homicide. He advised investigators he had met his spouse and spoken to her a number of occasions after her disappearance, however investigators weren’t capable of corroborate his statements. A pal testified at trial that Ann Racz was “scared to dying of her husband.”

Their eldest youngster testified through the trial, saying she suspected her father within the killing, in accordance with information stories on the time.

Deputy Dist. Atty. John Lewin and his fellow prosecutors relied on circumstantial proof to persuade jurors of Racz’ guilt.

“Whether or not you might have a physique or not, it’s clear she’s lifeless,” Lewin stated in 2007, after John Racz was convicted of homicide.

Eric Christopher Bechler during a court hearing in his murder case in Orange County. Bechler was convicted of murdering his wife, Pegye.
Eric Christopher Bechler throughout a courtroom listening to in his homicide case in Orange County. Bechler was convicted of murdering his spouse, Pegye. (Robert Lachman / Los Angeles Occasions)

July 1997

Pegye Bechler, 38

In the summertime of 1997, Pegye Bechler was together with her husband off the coast of Newport Seashore when she disappeared.

Eric Christopher Bechler stated Pegye was driving an influence boat that was pulling him on a bodyboard when a wave despatched him tumbling underwater. When he got here to the floor, he noticed the boat circling within the distance together with his spouse — a robust swimmer and triathlete — gone.

At first, authorities thought it was a tragic accident; however greater than three years after the lady disappeared, her husband was charged and ultimately convicted of homicide.

Prosecutors stated that Eric Bechler had bludgeoned his spouse to demise so he might money in on a $2-million life insurance coverage coverage. A former “Baywatch” actress and mannequin testified that Bechler admitted anchoring his spouse’s physique with 70 kilos and throwing her overboard.

The lady, Tina New, secretly wore a wire throughout a dinner date, the place Bechler admitted killing his spouse “partly for the cash, partly for the youngsters.” Bechler was sentenced to life in jail.

Relatives of of Pegye Bechler carry photos of Bechler in 2001 during the trial of her husband.
Kin of of Pegye Bechler carry photographs of Bechler in 2001 in the course of the trial of her husband. (Mark Boster / Los Angeles Occasions)

September 1999

Jack Irwin, seventy one

Months earlier than Jack Irwin, a Korean Warfare veteran, went lacking, he made two new associates. Marcia Ann Johnson and her companion, Judy Gellert, persuaded Irwin so as to add them to his belief and provides them entry to his financial institution accounts.

Johnson informed authorities that she shot Irwin within the head at his Mt. Baldy cabin as a result of he had repeatedly uncovered himself to her and made disparaging feedback about Gellert. Johnson then minimize off Irwin’s head, ft and palms with a sequence noticed, loaded his physique into her SUV, then stopped alongside Mt. Baldy Street, dropping physique elements off at numerous places.

When she disposed of Irwin’s head, she took it out of a plastic bag and rolled it down a hill, yelling at it for “making me do that to him,” she informed authorities in a videotaped assertion.

Gellert struck a plea discount in change for testimony towards Johnson, who was convicted of first-diploma homicide in 2004. Gellert was sentenced to one hundred eighty days in jail and 5 years’ probation, and was ordered to pay $one hundred fifty,000 in restitution. Johnson was sentenced to life in jail.

Marcia Ann Johnson in court as she was convicted of murder in the 1999 killing of Jack Irwin.
Marcia Ann Johnson in courtroom as she was convicted of homicide within the 1999 killing of Jack Irwin. (Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Occasions)

February 2001

Katrina Montgomery, 20

Katrina Montgomery, a Santa Monica School scholar, disappeared on Nov. 28, 1992, after leaving a celebration in Oxnard. Her bloodstained blue pickup truck was discovered deserted within the Angeles Nationwide Forest close to Sylmar the subsequent day, however her physique was by no means discovered.

It took six years for detectives to construct a homicide case towards Justin Merriman, a skinhead gang member.

Prosecutors stated that when Montgomery spurned Merriman’s sexual advances, he raped her, stabbed her within the neck and beat her with a wrench to stop her from reporting the sexual assault to police.

Two different San Fernando Valley skinhead gang members witnessed the assault however testified that that they had initially been too scared to talk up. Merriman was convicted and later sentenced to demise in 2001.

A 1992 file photo of Katrina Montgomery.
A 1992 file photograph of Katrina Montgomery.

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