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Accused O.C. serial killer who died was found in cell shaking, vomiting

November 29, 2013|By Adolfo Flores and Hailey Branson-Potts
  • Itzcoatl "Izzy" Ocampo was awaiting trial on charges that he killed four homeless men and a Yorba Linda woman and her son. He died at a hospital Thursday.
Itzcoatl "Izzy" Ocampo was awaiting trial on charges that he… (Associated Press )

The accused serial killer who died Thursday was found by deputies in his Orange County jail cell shaking and vomiting, a sheriff’s spokesman said Friday.

Itzcoatl “Izzy” Ocampo, 25 -- who was accused of killing six people, including four homeless men, a woman and her son -- was set to appear in court for a pre-trial hearing in January.

Deputies discovered an ill Ocampo inside his single-man cell and transported him to Western Medical Center in Santa Ana on Wednesday about 6:35 p.m., said Lt. Jeff Hallock.

He was pronounced dead Thursday about 1:40 p.m. while in the intensive care unit.

PHOTOS: Serial killer targets O.C. homeless

Ocampo was arrested in January 2012 after a string of slayings that had Orange County’s homeless community on edge. Ocampo was being held without bail at the county’s central men’s jail.

For months Ocampo went undetected, authorities said, as a string of killings occurred in north Orange County, starting with the stabbing death of a childhood friend and his mother in their Yorba Linda home in October 2011. The killings continued on the streets with the slayings of homeless men.

A former Marine from Yorba Linda, Ocampo was arrested in Anaheim after the fourth homeless man, John Berry, 64, was killed outside a fast-food restaurant. 

Prosecutors said Ocampo would select “available and vulnerable” homeless men and stalk them, waiting for what he considered the perfect moment to end their lives. He set a personal goal of 16 slayings, authorities said.

Ocampo’s death is being investigated by the Orange County District Attorney’s office, typical for jail in-custody deaths, Hallock said in a statement. The autopsy is scheduled for early next week and toxicology results will not be available for several weeks.

Orange County prosecutors had been seeking the death penalty against Ocampo.

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adolfo.flores@latimes.com

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