LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - A 28-year-old man was charged on Monday with murdering a college student from Saudi Arabia whose remains were found last week alongside a freeway in a Southern California desert city, authorities said.
Agustin Rosendo Fernandez is accused of posing as a buyer for Abdullah Abdullatif Alkadi’s car after it was posted for sale on Craigslist, then stabbing the 23-year-old man to death and stealing the vehicle, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck told a news conference on Monday afternoon.
“It’s a very sad case, and it’s a case that’s all too common,” Beck said in warning the public to take caution with e-commerce websites.
“Craigslist, eBay, they’re all opportunities for sales,” he said. “They’re also opportunities to let unwanted people into your life.”
Alkadi, an engineering student at California State University, Northridge, disappeared from his home in the Los Angeles suburb of Reseda on Sept. 17.
His body was discovered last week 125 miles (200 km) away alongside the Interstate-10 freeway in Palm Desert.
Police said they believed Fernandez killed Alkadi the day of his disappearance, aiming to keep the car.
Detectives are investigating the location of the stabbing, but police said Fernandez had visited Alkadi’s home.
The FBI had been assisting the Los Angeles Police Department with its probe, which resulted in the arrest of Fernandez and a second man who has since been released.
Prosecutors have said they will ask that Fernandez, slated for arraignment later on Monday in Los Angeles Superior Court, be held without bail.
No decision has been made about whether to seek the death penalty in the case, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office said.
Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Dan Whitcomb, Mohammad Zargham and Peter Cooney