Westminster Student Found Dead : Crime: A missing 23-year-old man was discovered shot to death in the back of his car. Thieves may have discovered his body before police did.


A 23-year-old college student from Westminster who had been missing since Nov. 28 was found shot to death in the back of a parked car here, police reported Tuesday.

Oceanside police said they found the body of Tom Van Do on Monday. Do's body was stuffed in the back seat of his 1983 Porsche, which was parked in a residential area of Oceanside, authorities said.

Deputy San Diego County Coroner Bill Leard said Do died of a gunshot wound to the head. The initial investigation indicated that Do had been dead for one or two days when his body was found, Leard said.

In Westminster, Lt. Bob Burnett said police had received a missing-person report Sunday on Do.

"It was filed by his roommate," said Burnett, adding that the roommate reported Do had last been seen Nov. 28, when he was driving to Los Angeles. The roommate, who was not identified, said that Do should have returned at least by last Friday because of a test scheduled at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, where he was a student.

Do's body was found after Oceanside police made two trips to inspect a parked car that had been reported by residents.

Oceanside police had received complaints from residents of the 400 block of Bush Street that a parked Porsche had not been moved for some time, Oceanside Police Officer Bob George said.

Officers went to the scene about 9 a.m. Monday and matched the car's license number to the missing person report filed by Do's roommate, George said. The investigators, however, had to leave to respond to a priority call before they could open and check the inside of the car.

Before the officers could return, George said, a resident of the area examined the car and saw a man's body in the back seat, partially covered by bundles of clothing. The resident telephoned police shortly before noon Monday.

Police returned to the car a few minutes after that call, George said, and this time they found the vehicle's rear license plate and radio missing.

Both items were present when police had initially inspected the car on Monday morning, George said. George added that thieves may have looted the car during the three-hour interim, and in the process, they may have disturbed clothing in the back seat that had hidden Do's body when police first went to the scene.

Police have no suspects, and George said no weapons or items that would suggest a motive for the shooting were found in the Porsche.

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