A Woodland Hills man suspected in the bludgeoning death of his aspiring model girlfriend was found dead after apparently committing suicide in a Tijuana hotel room, authorities said Tuesday.
Brian Joseph Cullen, 59, had been a fugitive since late last month, when police say he killed 21-year-old Iryna Singerman at his home and hid her decomposing remains in a Winnetka self-storage center.
“Obviously, our goal was to bring him before a judge and jury and let them decide his guilt or innocence,” Los Angeles Police Det. Rick Swanston said. “The system has been cheated, because he chose to end his own life.”
The detective said it was unclear when Singerman met Cullen, a salesman for a coupon-book business who had been on federal parole for a wire fraud conviction in the 1980s.
Singerman was married to another man but was dating Cullen, authorities said. The Ukrainian immigrant and aspiring model was last seen by her husband July 25, two days before Los Angeles Police Department officers were directed to a trash bin behind a Canoga Park business, where they discovered garbage bags containing a blood-streaked baseball bat, towels and documents bearing Singerman’s name.
Investigators went to Cullen’s home, where they saw signs of a struggle, police said. Documents discovered in the search led them to a Winnetka storage center, where Singerman’s decomposing body, her purse and other effects were found under a truck-bed cover.
Storage center employees told police that a man identifying himself as Cullen had paid them three months’ rent on a storage unit and said he was “going away for a long time,” according to Swanston.
Police, suspecting that Cullen had fled to Mexico, contacted officials with the Los Angeles Regional Fugitive Task Force, made up of federal, state and local law enforcement authorities, including the U.S. Marshals Service.
On Sunday, a U.S. marshal working on the case received a tip from Mexican authorities in Tijuana that a man matching Cullen’s description had been found dead from a single gunshot wound to the head, said Tony Burke, a supervisory inspector with the Marshals Service in Los Angeles.
Cullen was thought to have been traveling with a 14-year-old boy. The boy’s whereabouts were not immediately known, Swanston said.