The food catering and wedding coordinator at Hotel Laguna was found murdered in his home
By Michael Webster: Syndicated Investigative Reporter. Oct 25, 2009 at 9:30 AM PDT
Laguna Beach-on Friday October 23rd at 2:20 pm, Laguna Beach Police Officers responded to a residence in the 200 block of Dolphin Way for an unknown type of disturbance call.
A female had called “911” and told dispatchers she found her coworker deceased inside his residence. She had gone to check on him when he failed to show up for work at the hotel Laguna.
When the officers arrived at the scene, they entered the home and found deceased inside his home laying on the couch Damon Nicholson, a 41 year old resident of Laguna Beach, who was employed as food, catering and wedding coordinator. He appeared to have died from trauma to his upper body and head.
The apartment was sealed off from the public and a search warrant was obtained to gather further evidence from the murder scene. Later in the evening, the search warrant was executed at the home.
When police arrived the sliding glass door was found slightly ajar. Mr. Nicholson apparently lived alone, Lt. Jason Kravetz of the Laguna Beach police Dept. said. It is unknown if someone broke into the man's home, or whether the man usually left the sliding door open.
Kravetz said, the delay in alerting the media was that Nicholson's family members live out of state and had to be notified of his death. Investigators believe that the killing took place sometime between Thursday evening and Friday morning.
According to local reports a next-door neighbor Ed Petersen, 79, said the news was a "terrible shock and surprise."
"But I guess these things can happen anywhere, even in Laguna Beach," said Peterson, a 17-year resident in that neighborhood.
The two-story, pink-and-white duplex was cordoned with police tape shortly after the police arrived.
Laguna Beach Mayor Kelly Boyd told the media he was shocked when he heard news of the murder.
"It's just so rare to hear about a murder in Laguna Beach," he said, adding that he can't recollect when the most recent murder took place in the city.
Laguna Beach is a small, tight-knit community where neighbors look out for each other, Boyd said
The body was removed from the residence by the Orange County Coroners office in the early morning hours. The cause of death is pending an autopsy, but investigators are treating it as a homicide.
Neighbors and co-workers are being interviewed, anyone with information regarding this homicide is being urged to call the Investigations Division at (949) 497-0371 (Detective Debra Kelso).
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