Los Angeles police are trying to sort out the mystery of a Tarzana man, three missing family members and body parts found in a dumpster.
Samuel Bond Haskell IV, the son of a well-known Hollywood executive, was arrested last week in connection with the discovery of a woman’s torso that authorities say is likely his wife’s.
His wife hasn’t been found, and her parents are also missing.
Here is what we know from the pages of The Times:
What do authorities think happened?
Haskell; his wife, Mei Haskell; and her parents, Yanxiang Wang and Gaoshen Li, all lived in a single-story home in the 4100 block of Coldstream Terrace in Tarzana. Haskell and his wife have three children, who were in school last week when police got involved in the case, authorities said. They were found safe.
Police say that on Nov. 7, Haskell tried to get day laborers to remove bags from his home with what they said were body parts. When that failed, he was caught on video dumping the bags from the back of his Tesla in Encino, authorities said.
A person believed to be Haskell was then captured on security cameras opposite an Encino strip mall. The video, obtained by Fox News, shows a man hauling a large and seemingly heavy sack over his shoulder from the back of his car about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday and dumping it into a trash bin.
The next morning, an unhoused man found a human torso stuffed into a duffel bag in a dumpster in an Encino parking lot near Ventura Boulevard and Rubio Avenue, about five miles from Haskell’s home, police said.
Haskell was arrested after the gruesome discovery. Los Angeles police investigators say the remains recovered from the trash bin are likely his wife’s.
Inside Haskell’s house, detectives discovered blood and other evidence consistent with killing and dismemberment, according to investigators.
What did the day laborers say?
Haskell, the son of a Hollywood agent to A-list stars, tried to pay day laborers $500 to take away bags he first said were full of rocks and then said were Halloween decorations, the workers told a reporter for KNBC-TV Channel 4.
But the workers told the news outlet the bags’ contents felt like meat. “When we picked up the bags, we could tell they weren’t rocks,” one of the workers said in Spanish.
The men described the bags as soft and soggy, weighing about 50 pounds. They stopped their truck a block away, checked inside and saw human remains, identifying a belly button.
They returned the remains to the Tarzana home and reported the discovery first to the California Highway Patrol and then to the Los Angeles Police Department. But the bags were gone when authorities arrived, police said.
What is the status of the investigation?
The Los Angeles County district attorney’s office has filed three special circumstance murder counts against Haskell in the killings of his wife and her parents.
“These shocking and gruesome crimes have sent shock waves through our community. We stand with the victims’ loved ones during this unimaginably difficult time and will do everything in our power to ensure justice is served,” Dist. Atty. George Gascón said. “Our major crimes division will work tirelessly to bring about a prosecution that reflects the severity of this devastating crime.”
Authorities still have not found Mei Haskell or her parents, who were last seen Nov. 6.
“They would normally be home in these hours, and attempts have been made to contact them by phone, by cellphone, and no answer. And the same with Mei. She is unaccounted for,” LAPD Det. Efren Gutierrez said last week.
Haskell briefly appeared in a courtroom Monday as a judge ordered he be held without bail pending a Dec. 8 hearing.
He has not entered a plea, and his attorney could not be reached for comment.