The dismembered body of a 74-year-old woman was found Friday after neighbors reported a foul odor coming from the house.
Officers went to investigate the bungalow-style house on North Ditmar Street in San Diego around 11:10 am, Sgt. Matt Christensen said.
Sixty-nine-year-old Frederick Hengel was detained shortly afterward in the downtown Oceanside area, Lt. Leonard Mata said. Hengel voluntarily went to police headquarters, where he was arrested.
Neighbors said they had not seen the woman, who has not been identified yet pending notification to her relatives, for about a month. Several reported hearing what sounded like the screeching of heavy machinery about two weeks ago.
The woman had been seen exposing herself in the area, and her husband had been seen dressed in women’s clothing, jewelry, and makeup.
Adult Protective Services had been referred to the home, but Sgt. Christensen said he didn’t know when or why. Lt. Mata said there had been no record of domestic violence.
Some neighbors called the couple hostile, while another said the woman was harmless and her husband was reclusive.
About six months ago, 21-year-old Erick Chavez said the woman had been seen wandering around the neighborhood carrying a butcher knife and exposing herself with her parents around her ankles. He said this went on for about a month.
Chavez also said the woman preached in the street, saying things like, “God will smite you.” His mother, 59-year-old Olga Heras, said she was afraid of the woman and would not let her grandson play in the yard because of her. She said the family had contacted police several times about her.
Chavez and other neighbors told police they heard what sounded like an electric saw between 8 and 10 pm about two weeks ago.
Frederick Hengel was booked into the Vista Detention Facility on a first-degree murder charge. He is scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.
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