SAN FERNANDO (CNS) – A Long Beach man has been charged with capital murder in connection with the death of a Cal State Northridge student whose body was found in the Coachella Valley.
Agustin Rosendo Fernandez, 28, is accused in the death of Abdullah Abdullatif Alkadi, who disappeared Sept. 17 from his home near the CSUN campus. Alkadi’s body was found Thursday, Oct. 16, along Interstate 10 east of Cook Street in Palm Desert, according to the Riverside County coroner’s office.
Fernandez appeared in court in San Fernando on Oct. 20, but his arraignment was postponed until Nov. 17. The murder charge includes the special circumstance allegations of murder during a robbery and murder during a carjacking.
Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek the death penalty against Fernandez.
Authorities had not released any details about how Alkadi died, but prosecutors contend Fernandez used a knife to carry out the crime.
Los Angeles Police Department Chief Charlie Beck said that in mid-September, Alkadi listed an Audi for sale on Craigslist and he disappeared Sept. 17 while “showing that vehicle to a prospective buyer.”
Fernandez and another suspect were arrested Oct. 16. Police said Fernandez had Alkadi’s vehicle when he was arrested, and he made statements that led to Alkadi’s body.
No charges were filed against the second suspect, who was released.
“As the investigation continues, there may be additional charges, there may not,” Beck said.
Alkadi’s body was found about 40 miles east of the Beaumont location where the engineering student’s cellphone had last been used, just before it was deactivated.
“The investigation determined that Agustin Fernandez killed Mr. Alkadi in an attempt to keep both the Audi and the purchase price,” Beck said.
The Audi A6 was advertised for sale at more than $30,000, Beck said.
The chief said the case points to a common danger facing people who sell merchandise online.
“It’s a case that is all too common in the county and city of Los Angeles,” he said. “I think that the message for the public here is that you have to beware when using online Internet sites to sell anything. Craigslist, eBay, all the other opportunities for sales are also opportunities to let unwanted people into your lives. This happened, not the victim’s fault, but with (an) absolutely tragic, tragic outcome.”
Beck said there are steps people can take to avoid becoming a victim, most notably taking someone along when meeting a prospective buyer, and holding those meetings in public places.
“As a matter of fact, if you want to meet in front of one of our police stations, they’re available for that purpose,” Beck said.
City Councilman Mitch Englander said that when posting ads online, “don’t use your full name and don’t list your address or phone number on any of the sites.”
He also said photos on the site should not show any family members or any identifiable information. Photos of vehicles should not show the license plate, he said.
“Anybody at anytime can, in fact, be a victim,” Englander said.