A story for every victim

Rodolfo Avina, 34

Rodolfo Avina, a 34-year-old Latino, was found dead with gunshot wounds Friday, Dec. 4, at the corner of Cogswell Road and Ferris Road in El Monte, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records. 

Paramedics were called about 2 p.m. after a gardener noticed an unresponsive man in the back seat of a black Cadillac SRX, which was parked along the curb of Ferris Road, said Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Steve Jauch. 

Avina was pronounced dead at the scene at 2:15 p.m. with a gunshot wound in his upper body, according to coroner’s records. He had been reported missing by his girlfriend to the Los Angeles Police Department on Nov. 24. 

The Cadillac was registered to Avina, but investigators don’t know how long it had been parked on the street or when Avina was shot, Jauch said. 

A parking officer for the El Monte Police Department put a parking ticket on the vehicle the morning of Dec. 3, Jauch said. Investigators haven’t spoken with the officer to know whether he or she noticed anyone in the back seat. 

A neighbor was quoted in the San Gabriel Valley Tribune as saying she walks a route that passes that intersection daily and noticed the Cadillac on Dec. 2 about noon. The resident said she recalled a foul odor when she passed by the car but wasn’t sure if it came from the vehicle or the storm drain next to it. 

Jauch said the car is being processed by investigators, but there were no shattered windows or other outward signs that it had been hit by gunfire. 

This is the fourth incident involving a body found in a car in less than two weeks in the San Gabriel Valley. All four bodies were found near the 605 Freeway, but aside from that, Jauch said, “there’s no indication these deaths are related, although there certainly are some coincidences.”

On Nov. 24, Eric Hector Sarabia, a 36-year-old Latino who had been living in his van, was found dead in the back seat with gunshot wounds to the upper body. The van was parked in the 13900 block of Flatbush Avenue in Norwalk. 

Nov. 25, Martin Diaz, a 38-year-old Latino who lived in Duarte, was shot and killed around 5 a.m. as he was driving in the 15900 block of East Foothill Boulevard, just west of Irwindale Avenue, on his way to work.

And on Nov. 29, investigators discovered the body of Dawn Francis McEveety, a 19-year-old Latina, in an ice chest in the cargo area of an abandoned vehicle in the 8600 block of Bradwell Avenue in West Whittier-Los Nietos area. McEveety had multiple gunshot wounds, according to coroner’s notes. 

Anyone with information about the Avina case or the other shootings is asked to call the Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.  

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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