SoCal man arrested on suspicion of UCSD student's murder

Posted at 11:27 AM, Sep 25, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-25 14:27:59-04

SANTA CLARITA (CNS) - A Santa Clarita man was arrested Monday on suspicion of murder in the strangulation of a UC San Diego student believed to have been his boyfriend.

Christian Ortiz, 21, was taken into custody about 3 a.m., booked on suspicion of murder and held on $1 million bail, according to the sheriffs' department.

Sheriff's officials said a body was found around 4 p.m. Sunday at a home in the 23600 block of Via Valer in Santa Clarita. Deputies went to the home after receiving a call that a man was not breathing. The victim, who appeared to have been strangled, was pronounced dead at the scene, according to the sheriff's department.

"Based on interviews and evidence at the location, it was determined that the unidentified victim died at the hands of another," said Sgt. Aura Sierra of the Sheriff's Information Bureau.

Although the victim has not been officially identified, relatives told reporters at the scene he was Brayan "Brian" Rodriguez, 20, who was last seen Friday. Friends and relatives spent much of the weekend searching for him, passing out flyers with Rodriguez's photo to area residents.

As the investigation continued Monday, relatives and acquaintances of Rodriguez told reporters that Ortiz lives at the home where the body was found - - and that Ortiz was Rodriguez's boyfriend.

Ortiz was tentatively set to appear in court on Thursday in San Fernando, according to jail records.