The bodies of a 13-year-old girl and a man who rented a room in her family’s home were found Tuesday afternoon, Fullerton police said. She had been stabbed to death, officers said.
Janette Jimenez, an eighth-grader at Nicholas Junior High School who was looking forward to the start of the school year Thursday, was found unconscious and near death by her father when he came home from work, said Lt. John Petropulos.
Paramedics arrived too late to save her, he said.
Police also found the body of a 40-year-old man, who rented a room in the family’s home in the 3600 block of West Valencia Drive, but did not disclose his name or how he died.
The girl’s parents told police that they left for work together in the morning but returned home separately. Alberto Jimenez got home about 1:30 p.m. and, according to neighbors who spoke with him, found Janette in the living room.
When Janette’s mother, who was not identified by police, returned home two hours later, officers took her aside and told her of her daughter’s death. She slumped over, distraught.
Neighbor Dionisio Montelongo said that members of the Jimenez family were friendly and never bothered anyone in the neighborhood. “How horrible to arrive home and find this,” Montelongo said.
There were no signs of a break-in, police said. Neighbors told officers they did not hear gunshots, loud sounds or voices coming from the Jimenez family’s half of the duplex.
Petropulos said police were still examining evidence late Tuesday and that it was too early to speculate whether it was a murder-suicide or a double homicide.
Fullerton, a city of 138,400, had no homicides reported last year, and only one in 2004, according to annual FBI crime reports.
“I’m terribly sad,” said Phyllis McCarthy, a longtime resident who lives across the street. “We’re so used to seeing them out there having barbecues and such.”
McCarthy’s granddaughter, Jessie Hoover, was a baby-sitter for Janette when the girl was younger.
“She is the sweetest thing,” Hoover said. “She was the one easy to spot because she would always take the neighborhood kids to the store for ice cream and candy.”
Janette’s schoolmates lingered nervously across the street, watching investigators come and go from the home.
“She was popular at school because she was really nice and not mean to other people,” said Genesis Mendez, 13.
One of the girls said to another: “I’m not walking alone any more. Not around here.”