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News Release

Friday, May 25, 2001

Media Relations

Murder Suspect Arrested

"Murder Suspect Arrested"


North Hollywood - On Thursday, May 24, 2001, at approximately 3:40 p.m., North Hollywood patrol officers responded to an apartment building located at 7701 Laurel Canyon Boulevard to investigate a reported homicide. Upon arrival, the officers met rescue ambulance personnel who were already at the scene. Inside the apartment, officers discovered the body of 4 year old boy, Richard Mendez, who lay silent on the couch in the living room. The boy was pronounced dead at the scene by responding paramedics. It was obvious from the condition of the boy's body that the child had been beaten severely and a homicide investigation was initiated.

North Hollywood Homicide Detectives accumulated enough information at the scene of the crime to implicate the boyfriend of the child's mother. The suspect was identified as 24 year old Jose Cruz of Pacoima. Los Angeles police officers initiated an intense search in Pacoima and the surrounding areas to locate Cruz before he had a chance to escape.

At approximately 4:30 a.m., on May 25, 2001, Cruz telephoned the Foothill Division front desk and told a desk officer that he was involved in the death of 4 year old Richard Mendez. The desk officer spoke to him at length and convinced him that the best course of action was to submit to arrest at Foothill Division. At approximately 5:00 a.m., Jose Cruz surrendered himself at Foothill Police Station. Cruz was later transported to North Hollywood Division where he was questioned. Cruz was subsequently taken to Van Nuys Jail and was booked for the murder of 4 year old Richard Mendez.

This press release was prepared by Public Information Officer Jason Lee, Media Relations section, 213-485-3586.