18-year-old accused of stomping his father to death on Laguna Niguel walking trail

Maximilian Ludwig, 18, is facing a murder charge on allegations that he killed his father on a walking trail in Laguna Niguel last week.
(Orange County District Attorney’s Office)

An Orange County man is facing a murder charge after authorities say he led his 59-year-old father to a walking trail near their home in Laguna Niguel and brutally attacked him.

Prosecutors allege Maximilian Ludwig, 18, beat his father, Christopher, with rocks and stomped on his head until he died as the pair walked along a trail near Highlands Avenue the day after Thanksgiving.

After the attack, authorities said, Ludwig called 911 to summon police. He was arrested at the scene and is being held without bail in Orange County jail in Santa Ana, authorities said.

Ludwig worked as a seasonal lifeguard and swim instructor from 2016 til August of this year for the city of Laguna Niguel, where he supervised swimmers at a city pool and led swimming lessons. His mother works in the city’s recreation department.


The murder charge against Ludwig includes a sentencing enhancement of lying in wait. If convicted, he faces a minimum sentence of life in state prison without parole.

Authorities have not determined a motive in the attack.

Twitter: @Hannahnfry


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