Witness May Be a Suspect

Times Staff Writer

Authorities investigating the slayings of two men and the wounding of a woman near Sycamore Cove State Beach said Tuesday that a man earlier sought as a witness to the crime may be a suspect.

"We think he may have been at the scene and may be connected to the case," said Sgt. Ronald Nelson, a spokesman for the Ventura County Sheriff's Department. "If he is a suspect, he may be armed and dangerous."

The victims were found shot along Pacific Coast Highway south of Oxnard at 8:15 p.m. Sunday. One man, 32-year-old Levi A. Orellana, was pronounced dead at the scene. The other, Francisco Orellana Miranda, 37, died at the hospital.

The woman remained in critical condition at Ventura County Medical Center. Nelson said her identity has not been released because authorities fear she could be in danger.

The man sought by deputies is described as white, in his late 20s or early 30s, and weighing about 160 pounds. He is said to speak slowly with a Southern accent. Authorities say he may be a transient and was last seen wearing a dark jacket, dark backpack and denim jeans.

Nelson said so far there is no motive for the shootings. Orellana was a gardener from El Salvador and Miranda a maintenance worker from Honduras. Each man was married with three children, though their families remain in their respective homelands.

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