SANTA ANA (CBSLA.com) — A 32-year-old man was arrested Thursday on suspicion of killing his grandmother in Laguna Niguel five years ago and soliciting the murder of a witness.
Michael Wesley Baker was arrested in Santa Clara County and is being held on $1 million bail, Orange County District Attorney’s officials said.
Baker was charged with murder and three counts of solicitation to commit murder. He also faces sentencing enhancement allegations for prior convictions for possession of methamphetamine, domestic violence and terrorist threats.
Prosecutors say Baker killed his 82-year-old grandmother, Sara Mowrey, in her Laguna Niguel home about 9 p.m. on Jan. 13, 2009.
Authorities told KCAL9’s Stacey Butler they believed Baker was motivated to murder for his grandmother’s money.
The victim’s body has never been found.
The morning after Mowrey’s murder, Baker was seen trying to dump the body in a trash bin of an apartment complex when he was confronted by an acquaintance, according to prosecutors. The witness never reported it to authorities.
Mowrey’s son, William Warren Baker, reported his mother missing, leading to a massive search in Orange County.
William Baker’s report to authorities prompted authorities to investigate him, ending with his conviction in a Ponzi scheme and for cashing in his missing mother’s Social Security checks. William Baker pleaded guilty in May 2011 to stealing about $922,000 from at least 10 victims of the Ponzi scheme and was sentenced three years ago to 10 years behind bars. Baker remains incarcerated in Chino.
Michael Baker, who was jailed on unrelated charges last year, allegedly solicited several people, including undercover Orange County sheriff’s deputies, to kill the acquaintance who saw him allegedly trying to dump the body.
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