Itzcoatl Ocampo: Ex-Marine Corps Serial Killer

This dairy is basically an informational update of The Sordid Truth about the United States Marine Corps now that some significant details are available on the suspected serial killer.

In the MarineCorpsTimes today we have this:

SANTA ANA, Calif. — A 23-year-old Iraq war veteran charged with the stabbing deaths of four homeless men in a rampage that terrorized Southern California had selected additional victims, prosecutors said Tuesday.

Former Marine Itzcoatl Ocampo chose the final victim because the man appeared in a news article about police warning homeless men to be careful, Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said.

His father, Refugio Ocampo was homeless and living on the street. His son, Itzcoatl Ocampo, visited him just a few days before he was arrested. “He was very worried about me,” Refugio Ocampo said. “I told him, ‘Don’t worry. I’m a survivor. Nothing will happen to me.’”

Also from Marine Corps Times we have these additional details:

Itzcoatl Ocampo was a fun-loving teen who liked to hit on girls when he joined the military. But after he was discharged and returned home he kept to himself, trusted no one and drank a lot, they said in interviews with The Associated Press.

“He came back from the war and was never the same,” said Brian Doyle, 23, a friend from high school.

Ocampo’s little brother, Mixcoatl, 17, said investigators who came to the family home seized his own computer — his brother did not have one. They also took the gift his brother gave him for Christmas, a DVD box set of the 2008 HBO series “Generation Kill,” the story of a reporter embedded with a Marine battalion during the invasion of Iraq.

Itzcoatl Ocampo was arrested Friday night after a locally known homeless man, John Berry, 64, was stabbed to death outside an Anaheim fast-food restaurant. Bystanders gave chase, and a police officer who was part of a perimeter set up in response to 911 calls made the arrest.

Anaheim police Chief John Welter has said investigators are confident they have the man responsible for the string of murders that struck fear into Orange County’s homeless since Dec. 20. Prosecutors have yet to file charges, and authorities have provided no information on evidence against Ocampo, or a possible motive.
Mixcoatl Ocampo said his brother followed a friend into the Marine Corps in 2006 and went to Iraq, where he apparently was not involved in combat, and was honorably discharged in June 2010.

That same month, Itzcoatl Ocampo’s friend Cpl. Claudio Patino IV, 22, of Yorba Linda, was killed in combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

“He took that really hard,” said Mixcoatl Ocampo. “Once he received the news, he was never the same.”

Mixcoatl Ocampo said his brother visited Patino’s grave twice a week.

Doyle had difficulty describing the change he saw in his friend from high school.

“He went from being a tall, geeky kid, really fun-loving ... ” he said, trailing off.

Doyle said he once offered his friend a self-help book based on Eastern philosophy that he had found useful but Itzcoatl Ocampo rejected it.

Doyle said he tried to find out what was going on with his friend but didn’t press it, never imagining something like the serial killings.

“Everyone’s got their issues, you know?” he said.

In addition to Berry, James Patrick McGillivray, 53, was killed near a shopping center in Placentia on Dec. 20; Lloyd Middaugh, 42, was found near a riverbed trail in Anaheim on Dec. 28; and Paulus Smit, 57, was killed outside a Yorba Linda library on Dec. 30.

Really to its credit, Marine Corps Times is giving this case the best coverage out there:

Just months after he was deployed to Iraq in 2008, a Marine veteran now suspected in the deaths of four homeless men in Southern California sent his family a short, upbeat video greeting.

The video, which was mostly in Spanish, showed Itzcoatl Ocampo wishing his father a happy Father’s Day and reading an excerpt from Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham” to his then 10-year-old sister.

The former Marine’s 17-year-old brother, Mixcoatl Ocampo, recalled how happy his family members were when they got the video in the mail that summer. They all gathered around the television in the living room to watch Itzcoatl Ocampo, who appeared in fatigues and talked against the backdrop of an American flag.

“We hadn’t seen my brother since he got deployed,” he said. “Dad saw the video, and when he first saw it he was thrilled.”

According to friends and family, a much darker Ocampo returned home after he was discharged in 2010. His parents separated, and his father eventually became homeless.

Now, Ocampo’s family is left trying to reconcile the smiling, slightly nervous-sounding Marine in the video greeting friends and family with the blankly staring man in the police mug shot accused of murder.
Ocampo’s father, 49-year-old Refugio Ocampo, said his son came back a changed man after serving in Iraq, expressing disillusionment and becoming ever darker as his family life frayed and he struggled to find his way as a civilian.

The father said he lost his job and home, and ended up living under a bridge before finding shelter in the cab of a broken-down big-rig he is helping repair.
The son followed a friend into the Marine Corps right out of high school in 2006 instead of going to college as his father had hoped. Itzcoatl Ocampo was discharged in 2010 and returned home to find his family in disarray, his father said.

The same month, one of Itzcoatl Ocampo’s friends, 22-year-old Cpl. Claudio Patino IV of Yorba Linda, was killed in combat operations in Helmand province, Afghanistan.

“Once he received the news, he was never the same,” Mixcoatl Ocampo said. He said his brother visited Patino’s grave twice a week.

Refugio and Mixcoatl both described a physical condition Itzcoatl suffered in which his hands shook and he suffered headaches. Medical treatments helped until he started drinking heavily, both said.

“He started drinking like crazy — too much, way too much,” the father said.

A neighbor who is a Vietnam veteran and the father both tried to push Itzcoatl to get treatment at a Veterans hospital, but he refused. Refugio Ocampo said he wanted his son to get psychological treatment as well.