The attacker who stabbed and killed a pregnant Garden Grove woman in her home early Friday may have been wounded himself in the struggle, authorities said Saturday.
Investigators, searching for clues that might lead to a suspect, notified county clinics and hospitals Saturday about the brutal killing and the possibility that a male may turn up seeking treatment for “injured hands,” Garden Grove Police Lt. Ken Whitman said.
Police still had no suspects or motive for the killing of 28-year-old Vicki Mesa, who lived with her husband, Michael, in the 10700 block of Mallard Drive in Garden Grove. Neighbors said Mesa was five to six months pregnant with the couple’s first child.
But it “does not appear that fetus was fully developed and so it cannot be considered a second victim,” Whitman said Saturday, reading from a prepared statement issued by the department.
Police found Mesa’s body in the couple’s neat, three-bedroom house about 9:50 a.m. Friday. Her husband had called a neighbor to check the house after Mesa failed to show up at the Orange property management firm where she worked.
The neighbor saw Mesa’s black Volkswagen sedan still in the driveway, then looked in the window of the house, saw the body and called police.
The victim, Whitman said, apparently was dead of stab wounds when police arrived. The Orange County coroner’s office conducted an autopsy Saturday, but the report wasn’t finished. Whitman declined comment on specific circumstances surrounding the attack or whether the intruder forced his way into the home.
Neighbors said Mesa’s husband, a truck driver for a major grocery store chain, left for work Friday, as usual, sometime before 5:30 a.m. Mesa, they said, generally left home for IPS Management Co. about 8 a.m. One neighbor said Mesa’s car was running in the driveway when police arrived shortly before 10 a.m., but investigators would not confirm it.
Investigators spent most of Saturday inside the single-story house, which backs up to the Garden Grove Freeway, several blocks west of Euclid Street. Authorities had sealed off the house with yellow police tape Friday morning, and neighbors said detectives worked well into the night searching for evidence.
“That couple was so excited about the baby. They had so much going for them,” said Bobbie Winston, who had known the couple for several years. Winston and others said that Mesa’s husband was very protective of his wife, particularly since her pregnancy. They walked often in the middle-class neighborhood in which Mesa grew up. The couple had attended Bolsa Grande High School in Garden Grove and several years ago bought the house on Mallard from Mesa’s parents.
“Vicki grew up in that house,” a neighbor said Saturday. “It held a lot of good memories. Now it holds a lot of sadness for all of us.”
Another neighbor, Mildred McMillian, said the Mesas often left several outdoor spotlights on all night. The house is on a relatively busy corner near a freeway overpass.
“It is horrible, just horrible,” said McMillian, who has lived in the neighborhood since the late 1950s. “She was young, pregnant and happy. . . . It’s really frightening. But then again, the world has become a frightening place.”