On-Duty California Detective Found Dead in Car | MassCops

On-Duty California Detective Found Dead in Car

Discussion in 'Line of Duty Death News' started by kwflatbed, Apr 3, 2008.

  1. kwflatbed

    kwflatbed MassCops Angel Staff Member

    ALISO VIEJO, Calif. --
    A probe was under way Thursday into the death of a man - - reportedly an Orange County sheriff's investigator -- whose body was found in a car in the parking lot of an Aliso Viejo shopping center.
    The man, who was on duty, was found shot to death in the driver's seat of an unmarked Ford Crown Victoria, the Orange County Register reported.
    Investigators from the Orange County District Attorney's Office were following up on the discovery, which was made around 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, close to the Edwards Theater in the 26700 block of Aliso Creek Road, near Park Plaza.
    It was unclear how the man died -- whether he was killed or committed suicide -- but blood covered the front seat of the car, the Register reported.
    Orange County District Attorney's Office spokeswoman Susan Schroeder declined to say why the investigation was being handled by her office instead of the Sheriff's Department or confirm that the dead man was a law enforcement member.
    The District Attorney's Office investigates issues surrounding law enforcement officers.
    "How this person died is still being investigated," Schroeder told the Register. "We have no suspects at this time."
    Following the discovery, investigators examined a "duty bag" found in the car's trunk and containing law enforcement gear. A notebook in the bag had the Orange County Sheriff's Department logo on it, according to video taken at the scene.

    Story From: knbc.com

    This may be another case of suicide

    DA: Dead California Deputy Was to Be Arrested in Child Molestation Case

    Thursday, April 03, 2008

    SANTA ANA, Calif. — An on-duty Orange County sheriff's investigator found dead from a gunshot in his unmarked patrol car on Wednesday was to have been arrested that day on felony charges of child molestation.

    District attorney spokeswoman Farrah Emami says 41-year-old Gerald Stenger of Aliso Viejo was charged Wednesday morning with one count of lewd acts on a child under 14 and one count of continuous sexual abuse.
    Prosecutors allege he molested a 12-year-old boy for two years more than a decade ago.
    Emami says there were concerns that Stenger was a suicide risk and his case file was sealed to prevent him from knowing of his pending arrest.
    Stenger's body was found Wednesday afternoon in the driver's seat of the patrol car in an Aliso Viejo shopping center parking lot. He had a single gunshot wound to the head.

  2. PapaBear

    PapaBear MassCops Member

    O.C. deputy found dead, faced molestation charges

    [​IMG] Email Picture
    Glenn Koenig / Los Angeles Times

    Officers examine the site of an on-duty deputy's death at a parking structure inside the Aliso Viejo Town Center. Gerald Stenger, who was found dead with a single gunshot wound to the head, had earlier in the day been charged with molesting a 12-year-old boy.

    He had been charged with molestation. Suicide is suspected.

    By H.G. Reza and My-Thuan Tran, Los Angeles Times Staff Writers
    April 4, 2008

    An on-duty Orange County sheriff's deputy who was found dead Wednesday afternoon had been charged earlier in the day with molesting a 12-year-old boy he met through a child mentoring program, authorities said Thursday.

    Gerald Stenger, 41, was found at 2 p.m. in the driver's seat of an unmarked patrol car with a gunshot wound to the head, said Orange County district attorney spokeswoman Susan Kang Schroeder. The car was found in an Aliso Viejo parking structure, not far from Stenger's home.

    Gerald Stenger
    [​IMG] click to enlarge

    Believing that Stenger might be suicidal, authorities had taken steps to keep the criminal charges confidential until he could be safely apprehended. Investigators said they now want to know whether he had learned of his pending arrest.

    The veteran deputy was charged Wednesday morning with molesting a 12-year-old boy. Authorities said Stenger met the youth through Big Brothers Big Sisters of Orange County, which matches young boys and girls with adults. He would have faced a maximum sentence of 18 years in prison if convicted.

    Though Stenger met the victim through Big Brothers, the group's chief executive said the deputy was not the boy's mentor. Gus Valdespino said the organization had been cooperating in the investigation since last fall.

    "We're very shocked and saddened by [Stenger's death]. He was never matched with the child who was molested, and we have safeguards in place to make sure this doesn't happen," Valdespino said.

    He said Stenger served as a Big Brother from 1991 to 1995 but declined to say why he stopped mentoring. Law enforcement officials said Stenger began molesting his victim in 1995 and continued for two years.

    Privately, law enforcement sources say Stenger, a 20-year-veteran, killed himself.

    Schroeder, though, said investigators were still trying to determine whether his death was a suicide or homicide. She said authorities sealed the case file Wednesday morning.

    A statement released by the district attorney's office Thursday said a no-bail warrant had been obtained and prosecutors had coordinated with the Sheriff's Department to arrest Stenger in a safe manner. Authorities had planned to take him into custody in the afternoon at sheriff's headquarters in Santa Ana.

    "We believe he may have found out he was under investigation and was going to be arrested," Schroeder said. "Only a few people in our office knew about the charges."

    Stenger came under scrutiny when the victim told a family member that he had been molested, and the Sheriff's Department was notified, Schroeder said.

    Sheriff's spokesman Jim Amormino said the department launched an internal investigation and sent the case to the district attorney a few weeks ago. District attorney's investigators conducted a separate probe and filed charges against Stenger.

    Schroeder said the victim was told about Stenger's death, and "he feels he did the right thing by coming forward with information about the molestation."

    Authorities do not know if the deputy molested others, she said.

    Amormino said Stenger was promoted from deputy to investigator in August and worked out of sheriff's headquarters in Santa Ana investigating robberies, burglaries and other crimes in north Orange County.

    The molestation complaint against him resulted in the department's only internal investigation of Stenger, Amormino said. He was not married.

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