A 23-year-old woman whose husband has disappeared was arrested Monday on suspicion of murder after police found trash bags containing human body parts in the couple's Costa Mesa apartment and the husband's Corvette Stingray.
Omaima Aree Nelson, 23, was being held in Orange County Jail on $250,000 bail as Costa Mesa police tried to determine what happened to William E. Nelson, 56, who disappeared over the Thanksgiving holidays. The couple had been married about a month.
Authorities said they were unable to positively identify the remains Monday because the dismembered body was in too many pieces. A fingerprint and dental analysis is scheduled for today. A tentative identification has been made, police said, but they declined to release the name pending notification of relatives.
William Nelson failed to report to work Monday at Cannon Mortgage Inc., in Tustin, where he was a messenger and a part-time computer programmer. Sue Swanson, the president of the company, said the last time she saw Nelson was Wednesday, just before he left the office for the long weekend.
Costa Mesa Police Capt. Tom Lazar said the investigation began Sunday afternoon when a friend of Omaima Nelson reported that she had shown him a trash bag containing human organs, which was inside a red 1975 Corvette belonging to William Nelson.
Police found the body parts in the vehicle, which was parked at 157 Monte Vista Ave., a small apartment complex where the friend lived. Police did not identify the caller. But a neighbor said the person who called police had been asked by the suspect to help dispose of the organs, which were wrapped in newspaper inside the black trash bag. Several more bags of human remains were found during a search of the Nelson home at 2117 Elden Ave.
Omaima Nelson, who was detained for questioning all of Sunday night, was arrested Monday morning at the Monte Vista address after she quietly watched detectives sort through the plastic bag from the car.
"There is no known motive and we have no specific murder weapon at this time," said Lazar, adding that the remains belong to the same adult male. A cause of death has not been determined due to the condition of the body.
Acquaintances say that the suspect married William Nelson three to four weeks ago in Arizona and that they honeymooned at a ranch he owns with his brother in Laredo, Tex.
"They were real quiet, mysterious people," said Swanson, who had only seen the Nelsons together on a few occasions. "He met the girl (Omaima) and all of a sudden they were married."
Swanson said that police talked to her Monday and that she quoted them as saying William Nelson was missing. She described him as a good employee.
William Nelson is a private pilot, paroled after serving four years at Lompoc federal penitentiary for a marijuana smuggling conviction in 1984. He was hired by Cannon Mortgage shortly after his release.
Nelson--who was married previously and lived in Santa Maria in Santa Barbara County--has a 15-year-old daughter from that marriage.