Pair Indicted in Slaying of 82-Year-Old Vista Man
A federal grand jury Thursday indicted two North County men on charges of robbery, kidnaping and murder in the death of Swan Otto Bloomquist, an elderly Vista man whose bullet-riddled body was found 13 days ago in a remote ravine on the Camp Pendleton Marine base.
The 10-count indictment also charges Nick Michael Holm and Larry Wayne LaFleur with conspiring to abduct the 82-year-old Bloomquist and with the use of firearms during the commission of violent crimes.
Holm, 20, of Fallbrook and LaFleur, 22, a former Marine discharged in November, were arrested without incident a week ago after an investigation involving the FBI, Oceanside police and the Naval Investigative Service. The men are being held without bail at the Metropolitan Correctional Center in downtown San Diego pending their court appearance next Friday.
Life Imprisonment Possible
If convicted of the charges, the defendants face a maximum penalty of life imprisonment without possibility of parole.
According to his wife, Nora, Bloomquist vanished the morning of Jan. 10 after he dropped her off to go shopping at Plaza Camino Real in Carlsbad. When Mrs. Bloomquist returned to meet her husband, both he and the couple’s brown sedan were gone.
The indictment alleges that, a day earlier, Holm and LaFleur had discussed a plan to kidnap and rob an elderly person. Prosecutors charge that the two men, who reportedly had just met at a New Year’s Eve party in Oceanside, waited about two hours in the mall’s parking lot before deciding to abduct Bloomquist, whom they had observed counting money totaling $300.
Taken to Pendleton
Holm and LaFleur then forced their way into Bloomquist’s car and took him to a wooded area of Camp Pendleton near De Luz Canyon, it is alleged. The indictment says LaFleur then shot Bloomquist in the chest and heart while Holm fired shots into the man’s head and back. Five bullets from a .22-caliber and a .25-caliber pistol were fired, investigators said.
Bloomquist’s body was discovered five days later by two brothers who were target shooting in the area.
Prosecutors say Holm and LaFleur drove to Roseburg, Ore., after the incident with a woman who at first was questioned by authorities, who determined that she was not involved in the scheme. The men then returned separately to San Diego County.
Bloomquist’s 1988 Oldsmobile was found soon after his disappearance at the North County Transit Center in Oceanside. An affidavit filed in court indicates that clues in the car--including personal items belonging to LaFleur and an envelope addressed to Holm--pointed strongly toward the two suspects.
FBI Used 16 Agents
In announcing the indictments at a press conference Thursday, U. S. Atty. William Braniff praised the FBI--which used 16 agents on the case--for making arrests swiftly.
Braniff called the crime “senseless” but coldly “premeditated” and said his office would use every effort to obtain a conviction and the maximum penalty for the two men.
FBI agents have said they are investigating the possibility that the men were involved in similar crimes, but they would not elaborate Thursday.
The indictment charges the men, both of whom are unemployed, with one count each of conspiracy to kidnap Bloomquist; one count each of murder; one count each of kidnaping; one count each of robbery and three counts each of using firearms during the commission of a violent crime.