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Police: Arrests in 2008 Calif. homeless deathsPolice say arrests made in 2008 shooting deaths of 5 transients in Southern Calif.
LONG BEACH, Calif. (AP) ' Police said Wednesday that arrests have been made in the long-unsolved slayings of five transients who were gunned down in a homeless encampment near a Southern California freeway more than three years ago.
Long Beach police Chief Jim McDonnell scheduled a Wednesday afternoon news conference to discuss the arrests in the November 2008 fatal shootings, a department statement said. No details would be released until the news conference, the statement said.
The announcement comes a day after an Iraq war veteran was charged in nearby Orange County with stabbing to death four homeless men in a weeks-long rampage.
In the 2008 killings, police received a tip from an anonymous man calling from a pay phone. The bodies of Hamid Shraifat, 41; Frederick Neumeier, 53; Katherine Verdun, 24; Lorenzo Perez Villicana, 44; and Vanessa Malaepule, 34, were then found in an area of warehouses and apartment buildings where neighbors said people often dropped by to do drugs underneath the freeway.
Police were baffled by the slayings and the case may have been hampered when Southern California's first significant rain of the season possibly washed away evidence.
Police said they received very few phone calls in the days following the killings and had no eyewitnesses. The anonymous tipster was urged to come forward but it was unclear if he ever did.
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