SANTA ANA – Coroner’s officials said the human remains found in the back yard of a Santa Ana home Sunday are under investigation Tuesday after a 65-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the bones.
Cpl. Anthony Bertagna said Larry T. Dominguez, who used to live in a home on the property, was booked on suspicion of murder “based on the fact we have human remains here at the house and statements he made in the interview.”
Detectives questioned Dominguez late Sunday night after a couple dug into a 2-foot-tall berm while landscaping their yard in the 2500 block of North Hesperian Street and unearthed the bones.
After police received the report at about 2 p.m. Sunday, they designated the yard a crime scene.
It has not been determined whether the remains are of a male or a female and the cause of death remains unknown, Bertagna added.
Bertagna said the bones were sent to the coroner’s office for analysis and a cadaver dog was also brought in to check the rest of the yard.
The lot was the site of a 2006 fire that injured a man identified in a previous Register report as Larry T. Dominguez. He was described as a “pack rat,” and witnesses reported huge stacks of burned newspapers in the back yard.
After the fire, the family next door purchased the property and rebuilt, Bertagna said. The man and woman who discovered the remains are members of the family and live at the new house, he added.
Bertagna said Monday that detectives are investigating whether the 2006 fire was arson or accidental.
According to the Register’s December 2006 report, Dominguez had dozed off in his den when the heat of flames awakened him. A neighbor, identified as Renan Disner, wrestled with Dominguez, who was naked, before persuading him to get out the house.
Disner’s wife, Evy, recalled Dominguez on Monday as a nice man who was not very social.
“He was sort of a night person (who) would go out at night and work night jobs,” Disner said. “He would have people living there for a while, but they usually did not live there very long.”
Disner recalled that Dominguez’s father also lived at the home, but was not there when the fire occurred.
Online records show that Dominguez had lived at the home since 1968; a new Santa Ana mobile home address was listed under his name in 2009.
By ALEJANDRA MOLINA/ THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
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