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Stab Victim’s Wounded Fiancee Being Protected

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Sheriff’s Department officials on Wednesday were keeping watch over the critically injured fiancee of a man who was brutally stabbed to death Monday night, saying they feared for her life.

The dead man was identified by police as Rogelio Merloz, 49, a maintenance manager for the Flying B Ranch, a secluded, 320-acre campground about 3 miles from Irvine Lake, Sheriff’s Department Lt. Richard J. Olson said.

Merloz’s fiancee, whom sheriff’s investigators declined to identify, remained in an undisclosed hospital Wednesday night. Detectives had yet to question her about her attacker, and were fearful she might be attacked again.

“We’re not releasing anything on the female for security reasons,” Olson said. “We are keeping a very close eye on her.” He declined to specify, however, what detectives were doing to protect her other than not disclosing her identity or whereabouts.

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Sheriff’s detectives, meanwhile, were searching for Merloz’s 1984 white Nissan truck, last seen speeding from the campground around the time of the 9:30 p.m. slaying, Olson said. The truck had a broken rear window and license plate number 3N95646.

“We really want that truck badly,” Olson said. “It could be important.”

Merloz was discovered by a camper who stumbled upon him as he lay on the ground near the camp’s shower stalls. He later died of loss of blood, Olson said.

Investigators were not sure of a motive and did not know if more than one assailant was involved, or if Merloz knew his attacker or attackers.

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“We really have nothing,” Olson said.


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