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Officers didn't find body in family's van


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  • Officers didn't find body in family's van

    POMONA - Family members of a woman found stabbed to death in February in a van parked outside Pomona Superior Court have filed a claim for damages against the city.

    The three family members named in the claim said police told them the van had been searched and that there were no signs of foul play.

    Police told the family the van appeared to be abandoned and asked the family to pick it up, according to the claim.

    When the family arrived, they found Eileen Nicole Ponce-Orta, 22, stabbed to death under a pile of blankets.

    Nicolas Orta, the victim's husband; Tracy Ponce, her mother; and Enrique Ponce, her brother, say police should have thoroughly searched the van because the family had reported Ponce-Orta missing the day before her van was found.

    "I'm hoping my claim does make the city of Pomona make changes in the way they release a car to family members," Tracy Ponce said.

    "They need to thoroughly check it if the person was the subject of a missing-persons report."

    The city has not responded to the claim, which seeks unspecified monetary damages for injuries related to the family members' health and mental anguish.

    The claim was mailed July 29 and received by the city July 31. The city has 45 days to accept or reject it.

    If the claim is rejected, or if the city fails to respond within 45 days, the family can file a lawsuit in Superior Court.

    "The city and our office is reviewing the claim, and following up by attempting to gather all the reports and materials we can in order to properly advise (the city) and respond to the complaint," said City Attorney Arnold Alvarez-Glasman.
    Ten days after Ponce-Orta's body was discovered by her family, Police Chief Joe Romero wrote in a Daily Bulletin guest editorial that his department "fell on our face" in responding to the abandoned van.

    Romero wrote that police officers cannot be certain that their decisions will always be correct but acknowledged that scrutiny of police decisions is "magnified many times over."

    "Pomona police officers hold a great deal of responsibility and therefore, must be ever ready to change `not so good' work into outstanding work," Romero wrote.

    The chief said an Internal Affairs Department investigation into the incident had begun. There has been no public announcement about the outcome of the investigation.

    Calls for comment left Tuesday for the Pomona Police Department were not returned.
    this sucks, i couldn't imagine going to pick up my van and find a dead family member stabbed to death in the back of it
    Last edited by FireCop86; 09-03-2008, 02:24 AM.
    This is my Glock, there are many like it, but this one is mine

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  • #2
    How tragic for the family.


    • #3
      Ooooh. That's a little messed up.


      • #4
        A similar situation happened to a distant family member. His son was a recovering drug addict, and had fallen into another bout of usage. He left on a saturday night, and was reported missing sunday night. The police told his father that he was dead on the following wednesday. His father soon found out that his son was found dead of an apparent overdose, in his fathers truck in a park in Pontiac on saturday night. The truck was registered and insured to his father, but for some reason his son spent 4 days in the morgue all the while his family was looking for him. It disappointing that some people "slip through the cracks"
        The Red, Bold, Italic is my official sarcasm tag.

        "I think many years ago an advanced civilization intervened with us genetically and gave us just enough intelligence to develop dangerous technology but not enough to use it wisely. Then they sat back to watch the fun. Kind of like a human zoo. And you know what? They're getting their money's worth"
        George Carlin


        • #5
          It's not so clear here is wheather an actual inventory and storage had been performed?

          When some officer ran the tag to get ownership, if reported missing with a woman ... why no hit?

          Assuming no hits when I run a tag and it comes back local and it's parked in a place where it needs to be moved but not a great traffic hazard ... and no signs of foul play ... I might would have contacted the owner and told thern where to come get it to save wrecker / storage.

          If then advised that it was connected with a missing person, time to thoroughly check it, process it as a crime scene even.

          Only way I would enter it to conduct inventory and thus discover what may be under a pile of blankets would be if I were doing either an inventory for towing and storage ... or if I had been alerted by a hit when running the tag ... or after seeing 27 quarts of blood and stuff through the glass ... or if I smelled some all too familiar odors.

          Just getting the family's side here and they want $$$ for mental anguish. I don't think that mental anguish should be compensated by suit and $$$ myself, never have thought it should. Mental anguish is largely a result of choices the purported victim seeking relief makes. It's my opinion.
          "That's right man, we've got mills here that'll blow that heap of your's right off the road."

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