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LAPD: CSUN student killed after trying to sell car on Craigslist

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck and L.A. City Councilman Mitch Englander speak to reporters Monday about the investigation into the death of Cal State Northridge student Abdullah Abdullatif Alkadi, whose body was found over the weekend along the 10 Freeway in Riverside County.
(Luis Sinco/Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles police alleged Monday that a 28-year-old man fatally stabbed a Cal State Northridge student who went missing more than a month ago after trying to sell his luxury car on Craigslist.

Agustin Fernandez of Long Beach was charged Monday with one count of murder in the death of Abdullah Alkadi, a 23-year-old electrical engineering student from Saudi Arabia who disappeared from his Northridge home Sept. 17. Prosecutors filed special circumstances -- alleging that the slaying occurred during a robbery and carjacking -- that make him eligible for the death penalty. 

LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Fernandez went to Alkadi’s home on the day he disappeared in response to a Craigslist ad Alkadi had posted for his Audi A6, which he was trying to sell for more than $30,000. When Alkadi didn’t return home that evening, Beck said, his family reported him missing. 

“The detectives were very, very concerned with the purchasers of the vehicle from the onset of this investigation, and their initial instincts were correct,” Beck said. “This was an attempt by Mr. Fernandez to get it both ways -- to take the car and keep the money.”

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LAPD Capt. Billy Hayes said Alkadi’s relatives told investigators about the man Alkadi had met. “We went down and followed up from there,” he said.

Investigators believe Alkadi was killed not long after he met Fernandez, but the coroner has yet to complete tests on the victim’s body, Hayes said.

Police allege Fernandez dumped Alkadi’s body along the 10 Freeway in Palm Desert, nearly 150 miles  from his home. Beck said Fernandez was arrested Thursday morning and made statements leading investigators to Alkadi’s body, which was discovered that evening.

A source familiar with the investigation said detectives believe Alkadi’s body was dumped soon after he was killed.

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The Audi was also recovered, Beck said, and forensic evidence indicated it was “somehow involved.” He did not elaborate. 

A second person was arrested in connection with the case Thursday morning but was released and not charged. Beck stressed that the investigation remained active and said additional charges could be filed.

When asked about the length of time that passed between Alkadi’s disappearance and Fernandez’s arrest, Hayes said it was part of the “investigative strategy.”

“It doesn’t fall into place immediately,” he said. “They’re all part of a jigsaw puzzle -- you can get the outside put together, but until you get the rest of the pieces for the middle, you don’t know where it is. And we’re not going to jeopardize an investigation. So we take our time.”

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Fernandez was scheduled to be arraigned Monday, but the hearing was postponed until Nov. 17. Prosecutors have yet to decide whether they will seek the death penalty or life in prison without parole.

Karla Galvez, 28, who lives near Fernandez in a Long Beach apartment complex, said he was dating a woman who lives at the complex and only recalled seeing Fernandez during the last few months.

Galvez said detectives had been at the complex recently, showing residents a picture of Fernandez and pulling surveillance tape of the parking lot. Investigators also took the family’s electronics and car, she said.

Galvez said Fernandez had brought a new sports car to the apartment a few weeks ago. She remembered the vehicle because the children who live in the complex “were making a big commotion,” she said.

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“Oh my god, it’s an Audi,” they shouted.

Follow @lacrimes@katemather and @jpanzar for more Los Angeles crime news.


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