A cabdriver described by employees as a dependable man who worked hard to put two children through college was found dead Wednesday inside his taxi, which had been parked in an Anaheim neighborhood for days.
Officials did not release the man's name, but Irene Roditis, 44, of Irvine, owner of South Coast Cab, identified him as Shimomura Moriumi, 54, of Santa Ana. She said he had worked at the company for five months.
Anaheim Police Sgt. Rick Martinez said the driver had been killed and that his body had been inside the minivan cab for at least two days.
Roditis said someone walked into her business about 7 p.m. Tuesday and told her that the taxi had been parked on Zeyn Street near Katella Avenue all day Monday. She said she was busy all night and forgot to try to call Moriumi until Wednesday.
When he didn't pick up his cell phone, she sent an employee and her husband, who looked through the tinted windows and discovered the body about 1 p.m.
"There was blood and newspapers all over the place," she said. "It's so sad and depressing. We've never had to deal with anything like this before. People steal a couple of our cabs, but nothing like this."
The minivan was moved to an enclosed tow yard so investigators could inspect it. Coroner's officials have not determined how the driver was killed.
Friends said Moriumi was married and was putting his son through college and daughter through medical school. He had been a taxi driver for 14 years, they said.
"He doesn't say too much. He doesn't have any complaints from customers or anything," Roditis said. "You have drivers who might get into trouble, but not this guy. He's very pleasant, polite and respectful. He wasn't a guy who was aggressive or had an attitude."