NEWPORT BEACH (CBSLA) — Police in Newport Beach have announced the arrest of a suspect in a double homicide that has rocked the community.
The suspect is accused in the murders of Costa Mesa mom Wendi Miller and a former minor league hockey player, Darren Partch.
CBS2’s Michele Gile reports the suspect has been behind bars for several days.
The suspect was identified as local fitness trainer Jamon Buggs, 44.
Buggs’ Facebook page says that he lives in Huntington Beach and is originally from Compton.
His LinkedIn profile says he works at the Equinox gym in Huntington Beach.
The victims were discovered Sunday night by Partch’s roommate in a condominium on 15th Street across from Newport Harbor High School.
Miller, initially, had been reported missing. Her son revealed in a social media post that his mom had been shot.
In Irvine, police released a video of a man with Buggs’ name who they say was caught after trying to break into two homes over the weekend.
Buggs reportedly fired a gun at a resident when he was allegedly interrupted during a burglary.
Authorities said Buggs was eventually arrested in the Irvine neighborhood by SWAT officers after he hid in an unoccupied home.
The arrest happened before dawn Monday as detectives worked the double murder scene presumably unaware the suspect was already in custody.
Friends and family meantime were still frantically searching for Miller who hadn’t returned home.
Buggs has a criminal record. He served jail time after pleading guilty in 1996 to vandalism, taking property and possession of and brandishing of a firearm.
Miller, 48, made her mark in Orange County as the CEO of the non-profit Wings for Justice. The organization, which was about to expand into Orange County’s family court facility, advocates for children’s rights for kids in the system. Wings for Justice was formed, a co-worker says, after Miller went through her own painful custody battle.
Giving, loving, outgoing were words used to describe Miller who went missing Saturday after a night out in Laguna Beach. Her friends told Gile that she’d met 38-year-old Partch on the dance floor at the Sandpiper Lounge and offered him a ride home. The pair lived a mile from one another.
Friends said it wasn’t at all out of character for Miller to help someone out.