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New homeowner finds dead body in Southern California house
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SIMI VALLEY (AP) — A new homeowner who stopped by his Southern California property expecting to find its previous owners packing up, instead stumbled on the owner’s dead body in the bedroom.
Mary Karacas, 75, was taken into custody Tuesday on suspicion of the murder of her 83-year-old boyfriend, Salvatore Orefice, who she lived with in the house in Simi Valley, police said.
Karacas, who was arrested shortly after the body was found on Sunday, told detectives that she shot him after an argument broke out between them, Simi Valley police said.
The 83-year-old’s body was discovered by the man who had bought the house from the couple 30 days before. He was checking up on their progress in moving out.
“When he knocked and there was no response, he found an open door and thought it was suspicious, so he went in,” Simi Valley police Cmdr. Roy Jones said.
He found Orefice’s body on a bed under a blanket in the bedroom and called authorities. The blanket over the body immediately indicated to detectives that it was unlikely to be self-inflicted, Jones said.
Simi Valley police say it is still unclear when Karacas shot her boyfriend and how long he had been lying in their house before being found. She was not at the property when the homeowner stopped by.
During her interview the 75-year-old told detectives that the gun she used was in her car, and it was subsequently retrieved by police.
Karacas has been booked into jail in Ventura with a felony murder charge and a bail of $750,000. Her arraignment is set for Aug. 3 at Ventura County Superior Court.
It is unclear at this time whether she has an attorney.
She has no prior record other than traffic violations, police said.