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The State

Bodies of 3 Men Are Found in Locked Minivan in Chula Vista

August 16, 2004|From Times Staff and Wire Reports

CHULA VISTA, Calif. — Three bodies were found in a locked minivan Sunday after a passerby noticed a bad smell and liquid leaking out of the vehicle, authorities said.

Two bodies initially were found about 8 a.m., hidden under a blanket, said Lt. Richard Coulson of the Chula Vista Police Department.

A third body was later found underneath one of the victims when a medical examiner's investigator came to remove the decomposing corpses, Coulson said. All three victims were male adults, possibly Latino, in their 20s or early 30s, Coulson said. They have not yet been identified.

Investigators believe the victims had been killed at least a day earlier, and someone drove the silver Dodge Caravan to a street in a south Chula Vista neighborhood and abandoned it.

There are no suspects, police said. Authorities know who is the registered owner of the minivan, but have no other information about it.

A passerby who stopped behind the minivan to look at a map noticed the strong smell and saw fluid, which investigators discovered was bodily fluid, coming out of the vehicle, Coulson said.

The bodies were found on a street lined with apartment complexes. "It's not a high crime area at all," Coulson said.

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