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$25,000 Reward Offered in Fatal Beating at Auto Shop

Crime: Owner died, two others were seriously hurt in La Habra. No arrest warrants have been issued.

March 12, 1998|MIMI KO CRUZ | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

LA HABRA — A $25,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the people who beat to death an auto shop owner and seriously injured two workers, police announced Wednesday.

Don Gilchrist, 41, of Bellflower, Cornelius Postma, 41, of La Habra, and David Mendoza, 26, of La Habra were found severely beaten Jan. 3 inside Gilchrist's shop, Dr. Don's Automotive. Gilchrist died of his injuries four days later. The other two suffered major brain injuries and have been unable to talk about the beating.

A worker from a nearby business found the bludgeoned men with their hands bound inside a back room at the shop. Officers recovered a metal weapon used in the attack but said finger and palm prints and blood left at the scene have failed to produce enough evidence for an arrest.

Police said they have questioned two brothers in connection with the case and are seeking a third to question but no arrests warrants have been issued.

Investigators said they have talked to Ramon Inzunza, 41, and Rogelio Inzunza, 48, and are looking for the third brother, Alfredo Inzunza. Ramon and Rogelio Inzunza have been in custody on unrelated charges.

"We want to talk to Alfredo but we have nothing concrete to tie these three guys to this crime. That's why we're offering the reward," said Detective Tom Dutton

Dutton said police have conducted hundreds of interviews, and the only lead they are pursuing is the possibility that the brothers might have information related to the crime. He said the brothers were customers of Gilchrist's shop.

"I just don't understand why this happened," said Gilchrist's widow, Sandy. "Don didn't have any enemies. None. Everybody liked him. If somebody couldn't pay for their car repairs, he would let them make payments. That's why this just blows me away. I'll never understand. Never."

Anyone with information is asked to call Dutton at (562) 905-9762.

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