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No Motive, Suspects in Mission Viejo Slaying : Victim of Fatal Stabbing Is Identified

Times Staff Writer

Authorities Monday identified a Mission Viejo man found dead in his home this weekend as David Werner, 72, a retired stockbroker.

He died of suffocation and several stab wounds to the upper body, according to a spokesman for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Werner’s body was found in his bed about 1 a.m. Sunday by his daughter, Deborah, 40, who lived at the single-family home with him.

He retired from Drexel Burnham Lambert, an investment banking firm, in March, 1981. Werner moved to his ranch-style home on the corner of the 27000 block of El Moro from Lake Forest last year, authorities and neighbors said.

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Investigators had no suspects, nor had they determined a motive. The cause of death was determined by a preliminary autopsy, authorities said.

Neighbors remembered Werner as an amiable man.

“I remember seeing him working on his garden last week. He was a really nice person,” neighbor Lori Jones said. “He was quiet but always made a point to stop and say hello.”

“He used to let us play in his yard while he watched TV,” said Jonathan Freeman, 9, “or sometimes he would just come out and watch us play.”

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Others on the small cul-de-sac said they did not know much about Werner and his daughter. Several said he was a quiet and peaceful person. His death, they said, came as a shock to the neighborhood and left many residents fearful for their family’s safety.

“I have a newborn baby and small children,” one neighbor said. “This really makes me uneasy.”

The man, who asked not to be identified, added that the lack of information about the killing makes him more nervous.

Deputies are trying to determine a motive, Sheriff’s Department spokesman Lt. Richard J. Olson said.

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Olson said Werner’s home had been ransacked, but no items have been reported missing, which would suggest that robbery was not the motive.

Olson said investigators have also not detected a forced entry into the house.

Deputies parked a surveillance trailer at the home, locked doors and windows to the home and guarded the area Monday as the investigation continued.

Werner’s daughter is not staying at the home and could not be reached for comment.

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Authorities said Werner is survived by her and by two brothers, of Fountain Valley and Portland, Ore.

Olson declined to comment on whether investigators believe that the victim knew his killer.


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