Maximiliano Bernal, 22
Maximiliano Bernal, a 22-year-old Latino, was pronounced dead on Thursday, Feb. 25, after his body was found at mile marker 7.98 of Sand Canyon Road in Santa Clarita, according to Los Angeles County coroner’s records.
Bernal’s body was found after a childhood friend confessed that he killed Bernal and dumped his body just off Sand Canyon Road, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Eddie Hernandez said.
David Aldana, a 21-year-old Latino, turned himself in at the San Isidro Port of Entry on the United States-Mexico border Feb. 24, Hernandez said.
Hernandez said Los Angeles County investigators met with Aldana the following day and he led them to the place where he left Bernal’s body.
“It was basically off the road somewhat at a vehicle turnout area,” Hernandez said. “We probably wouldn’t have found him unless someone happened on the body.”
Bernal was pronounced dead at the scene with multiple gunshot wounds at 10:50 a.m., according to coroner’s records.
Prosecutors believe he was shot on or between Feb. 23 and Feb. 24, according to a news release from the Los Angeles County district attorney's office.
Aldana was charged with premeditated murder Feb. 29, according to the news release. The charge includes the allegation that he used a handgun to kill Bernal. He is being held in jail in lieu of $3-million bail. He is scheduled to be arraigned in Department S of the San Fernando Branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court on March 21.
Both Aldana and Bernal lived in the Newhall area, Hernandez said.
Aldana told investigators he went to Mexico after the shooting and confessed his crime as he was reentering the country.
A Facebook profile with the same name and date of birth as Bernal said he had been a student at Golden Oak Adult School in the William S. Hart Union High School District in Santa Clarita since March 26, 2015.
District spokesman Dave Caldwell said he couldn’t confirm whether Bernal attended the school because district policy bars him from commenting on students.
He said the school offers GED degrees for adults, but also offers continuing education classes in music, languages and other subjects for all adults in the district.
Aldana has not cooperated with investigators since leading them to the body, Hernandez said. Investigators don’t know the motive for the killing or where Bernal was shot.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.