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Investigators are looking for ‘person of interest’ in Palmdale triple homicide

Investigators identified James “Todd” Brown as a “person of interest” in a triple homicide in Palmdale.
(Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)

Authorities on Wednesday identified a “person of interest” in last weekend’s triple homicide in Palmdale, in which a married couple and a son were found dead.

Homicide detectives believe James “Todd” Brown, who for one or two years lived on the property where the family was found dead Saturday, may have information about the slayings, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

They are seeking the public’s help in finding him.

Investigators believe Brown drives a 2002 silver Toyota pickup with a camper shell.
(Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department )
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Brown drives a 2002 silver Toyota pickup with a camper shell. The California license plate number is 42198C1. Brown has family and friends that live in the Inland Empire and Antelope Valley, officials said.

Investigators believe Brown was renting from the victims and resided in a structure on the property separate from the house in which the family lived.

“We’re trying to track him down and see what he knows,” Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Department said of Brown. “He’s living there and all of a sudden he’s gone.”

Authorities collected nearly 100 pieces of evidence from the scene, Corina said.

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The victims were identified as Richard Gardner II, 78; his wife, Pepper Gardner, 56; and the man’s son, 52-year-old Richard Gardner III. They were found dead Saturday afternoon, with “some trauma to their bodies,” in a home in the 1100 block of West Avenue N-12.

Detectives responded to the house after the sister of one of the victims became concerned and called authorities. The body of one of the men was discovered in one area of the home, and the bodies of the woman and the other man were found in a different room, officials said.

Corina said detectives believe the three people were killed not long before they were found.

Anyone with information about Brown’s whereabouts is asked to call Sgt. Eric Arias or Det. Gail Durham at (323) 890-5500.

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alene.tchekmedyian@latimes.com

Twitter: @AleneTchek


UPDATES:

9:20 p.m.: This article was updated with an interview with Lt. John Corina of the Sheriff’s Department.

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This article was originally published at 8:30 p.m.


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