LA HABRA : City Offers $15,000 Reward in Slaying

The city and Police Department are offering a $15,000 reward for information leading to an arrest in the slaying of a 52-year-old gardener, officials said Tuesday.

Jose Castillo Negrete, a native of Mexico who lived in La Habra with his family, was found bludgeoned to death July 12. His body was found by a passerby near railroad tracks that bisect Lambert Road between Harbor Boulevard and Palm Street, Sgt. Ron Harryman said.

Investigators estimate that Negrete, who worked for Yamamoto Gardening Services, died about 12 hours before his body was found.

Lacking witnesses and leads, police worked with City Council members and in November formed a committee to raise reward money, Police Chief Steven Staveley said.

"Investigators are outraged about this Negrete case," he said. "It aggravates them to no end that this man [Negrete] can die and someone knows about this, but we haven't reached that person or those people."

Detectives ask anyone with information to call the department's 24-hour hotline, (310) 905-9611.

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