The decomposing bodies of three men were discovered Friday in a Mercedes-Benz abandoned at a La Mirada strip mall.
A passerby who noticed a bad odor opened an unlocked rear door and found two bodies slumped on the seat and blood on the interior. Police discovered a third body in the trunk.
Customers at the strip mall at Telegraph and Leffingwell roads said the 2002 Mercedes, which authorities valued at $100,000, had been parked since at least Tuesday. Bally Satram, who lives nearby, said he had noticed the car again Thursday morning and decided to investigate. He said the windows had been heavily fogged, so he had wiped one and peered inside.
“It looked like people sleeping with jackets over their heads,” Satram said. “I didn’t think anything about it. There’s always people back there.”
Another man who had discussed the car with Satram decided to investigate Friday and opened a rear door at 2:20 p.m. He immediately slammed the door and called police, authorities said.
When sheriff’s deputies arrived, they suspected that another body was in the trunk. After searching the car, they found a spare key and unlatched the trunk at 7:20 p.m., according to Sheriff’s Lt. Ray Peavy.
Authorities did not identify the bodies late Friday, but Peavy said, “We have an idea who they are.” He said that he had spoken with the car’s registered owner in West Covina and that at least one of the victims had had a relationship with the owner.
No one has been arrested, Peavy said.
For much of the afternoon and evening, deputies and forensic experts surrounded the vehicle and kept a crowd of more than 100 onlookers behind police tape.
Cindy Lopez, who lives down the street, brought her children and their friends. Lopez said they had come “just out of curiosity, because things like that don’t happen around here.”
Times staff writer Monte Morin contributed to this report.