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Two Navy Men Arrested in Balboa Park Killing

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Two Navy enlisted men were arrested in connection with the fatal stabbing in Balboa Park of an elementary school counselor who was the father of three, police said Wednesday.

Todd Everett Fluette, 18, of Neenah, Wis., and David Allen Kring, 23, of West Lawn, Pa., were arrested Tuesday night in their barracks at the corpsman school at the Naval Hospital in Balboa Park and booked into County Jail on suspicion of murder, said Lt. Paul Ybarrondo of the San Diego Police Department. They are being held without bail.

Police and Navy investigators are attempting to establish a motive in the slaying of Michael Wayne Hamilton, 48, of El Cajon.

Fluette and Kring were arrested after someone in the barracks overheard a discussion about the stabbing. The barracks are located about a 10-minute walk from the slaying scene.

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Hamilton’s was the most recent of three Balboa Park stabbing deaths in the last month.

Ybarrondo downplayed the possibility of the attacks being serial slayings, and said the two Navy men have not been linked to the other two deaths.

Relatives gathered Wednesday at the Hamilton home as the victim’s wife Barbara; son, Michael Jr., 18, and daughters Elizabeth, 14, and Alexandra, 13, made arrangements for a funeral in Sacramento, where Hamilton was raised.

“He wanted to be buried there,” Elizabeth Hamilton said.

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Hamilton, a substitute counselor at Jerabek Elementary School in Scripps Ranch, was described by relatives and co-workers as reliable and disciplined, devoted to both work and family. He was not likely to wander away from home without first telling his wife or children, Elizabeth Hamilton said.

Hours before he was killed, Hamilton was chatting with his wife and mother, who was visiting from Sacramento. The three watched television Saturday night until about midnight, when Barbara Hamilton fell asleep on the couch, and her husband retired to the bedroom alone.

“It was a just a regular night,” Elizabeth said.

Medical examiner investigators determined that Hamilton was killed within the next five hours, near a canyon path 200 feet north of the Laurel Street Bridge. He was stabbed eight times in the chest and back, and his throat was slit, Ybarrondo said.

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His family said he was not known to frequent the area, and they were unaware he was missing until midday Sunday, about the same time his body was discovered.

The body was found by a man walking his dog in the secluded, brushy area bordering a bridle path that crosses under the bridge. The passer-by reported the body in an anonymous call to police.

A knife believed to have been used in the attack was found a few yards from the body, Ybarrondo said.

Hamilton was dressed in jeans, a denim jacket, and running shoes. He carried only the keys to his car, which was found parked near 5th Avenue and Nutmeg Street, about half a mile from the stabbing scene.

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