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Police suspect foul play

GLENDALE — A 45-year-old Glendale man arrested Saturday at the Canadian border is facing murder and animal cruelty charges after police discovered the badly decomposed bodies of his wife and their dog less than a day earlier in their apartment near North Central Avenue.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers arrested John Levin in Washington as he tried to cross into Canada. Customs Chief Thomas Schreiber said the license plate on Levin’s convertible Volkswagen turned up a missing-persons alert.

About 3 p.m. Friday, Glendale police discovered 35-year-old Michelle Levin and a small dog inside their apartment on the 200 block of West Fairview Avenue in Glendale.

The Los Angeles County district attorney on Monday charged John Levin with one count of murder, identifying the weapon as a knife. He was also charged with one felony count of animal cruelty, according to the complaint filed in Los Angeles Superior Court.


In an announcement from U.S. Customs, officials noted that John Levin’s wrists “were injured and oozing blood” at the time he was taken into custody.

Glendale police Sgt. Tom Lorenz said it appeared as if Michelle Levin had been dead for several days when discovered. Police officers responded to the scene after receiving a call from someone concerned about the pair’s whereabouts, he added.

“The evidence and investigation lead us to believe that there was some foul play, and because the husband was nowhere to be found . . . we put a missing-persons alert out on him,” Lorenz said.

Less than a day later, a mobile U.S. Customs patrol unit stopped John Levin at the Canadian border, where his license plate came back as belonging to a possible missing person.


A phone call to Glendale police revealed he was wanted as a murder suspect, Schreiber said.

He remained in custody Monday, awaiting extradition from Washington, Lorenz said.

John Levin was scheduled to be arraigned on the charges shortly after arriving back in California, he added.

On Monday morning, the gated apartment complex where Michelle Levin’s body was found was quiet, and no neighbors appeared to be home.

A woman in the front office area who would identify herself only as Linda said she did not know who lived in the apartment where the body was found, but described the complex as quiet.

Michelle Levin’s death marks Glendale’s second homicide of the year. In July, a 35-year-old North Hollywood man was shot to death while seated in his parked SUV in a parking lot on Elk Avenue. His pregnant wife, who was unharmed in the attack, was in the passenger seat.

No suspects have been arrested in that case.