ORCUTT – The Santa Maria Police Department is investigating a homicide after an unidentified male was found dead inside a U-Haul truck late Tuesday morning, and three Santa Maria residents have been arrested for their alleged role in the man’s death.
The investigation started just before 4 p.m. on Monday, March 18, after officers were dispatched to a residence in the 1100 block of West Donovan for reports of a possible assault that occurred at the home, police said.
When officers arrived at the home, the victim wasn’t located, but there was evidence that a possible assault had occurred at the residence.
Late Tuesday morning, deputies with the Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department located a vehicle believed to be involved in the investigation on Los Padres Street in Orcutt. Officers searched the vehicle, a U-Haul moving truck, and located a deceased male in the back of the truck. The man was a victim of a homicide, police said.
Police arrested three suspects from Santa Maria in connection to the man’s death. They have been identified as Ramon Maldonado, 37, Carmen Cardenas, 28, and Pedro Torres, 54. All three individuals were booked at County Jail on suspicion of conspiracy to commit murder.
Investigators haven’t released any motive for the alleged murder or said whether they believe the man’s death was gang related.
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