NewsCovering California


Arrest after body found inside van at California gas station

Posted at 12:03 PM, Aug 08, 2022
and last updated 2022-08-08 15:03:23-04

FOUNTAIN VALLEY, Calif. (AP) — A 39-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder after a dead body was found last week inside a van parked at a Southern California gas station, authorities said.

Donald Ratzlaff, 41, of Huntington Beach, was found shot to death inside a white van at an Arco station in Fountain Valley early on July 31, police said.

Investigators believe the shooting occurred at an apartment complex in nearby Westminster. Neighbors reported hearing gunshots and seeing a van leave the area a short time later, Westminster police Sgt. Eddie Esqueda said.

The suspect was arrested Wednesday at a Travelodge motel in Costa Mesa, Esqueda said. Police didn’t give a motive for the shooting or say how detectives tracked the suspect to the motel.

The Westminster resident was charged Friday with murder, including an enhancement for the personal use of a firearm, and for being a felon in possession of a firearm, according to the Orange County Register.

He was held on $1 million bail and a court appearance was scheduled for Monday, the newspaper said.