SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — Human remains found in the backyard of a Santa Ana residence are that of the ex-homeowner’s father, authorities announced Tuesday.
The former homeowner, 65-year-old Larry Thomas Dominguez, is now accused of collecting more than $100,000 in Social Security benefits from his deceased father.
Dominguez has been charged with one felony count of theft by embezzlement and sentencing enhancements for an aggravated white collar crime over $100,000. If convicted, he faces a maximum sentence of four years in state prison.
He was arraigned Tuesday and is being held on $100,000 bail, but has not been charged in the death of his father, Wallace Benjamin Dominguez.
Dominguez was arrested late Sunday or early Monday on suspicion of murder after current residents of the home in the 2500 block of N. Hesperian Street contacted the Santa Ana Police Department to report they had found bones in the backyard.
Officers subsequently contacted the defendant at his mobile home residence in Santa Ana as part of the investigation, which revealed that after Dominguez’s father died in May 2005, the defendant allegedly stole his deceased father’s benefits.
Dominguez is accused of fraudulently collecting more than $1,100 per month in benefits — more than $100,000 in all.
Police are now investigating whether Dominguez was involved in the death of his father.
“The question begs did he die and he elected to bury him in the backyard? Or did he die at the hands of another?” Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said.
A former neighbor, Roy, said Dominguez’s father was very ill.
“He was sick. He had glaucoma at the time. He was legally blind and couldn’t see,” Roy said.
The investigation is ongoing and the cause of death has not yet been determined.
Anyone with additional information is encouraged to contact SAPD Detective Leo Rodriguez at (714)245-8390 or Supervising District Attorney Investigator Ron Seman at (714)347-8814.