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Father of Accused Killer Tells Chilling Tale About His Son

Alleged murderer Itzcoatl Ocampo's dad is homeless himself.

The father of the man suspected of killing four homeless men in Orange County is himself homeless and said his son last week showed him a picture of one victim as a warning of the danger of being on the streets.

Refugio Ocampo, 49, also told The Associated Press on Sunday that his son came back a changed man after serving with the Marines in Iraq, expressing disillusionment and becoming ever darker as he struggled to find his way as a civilian.

The father lost his job and home, and ended up living under a bridge before finding shelter in the cab of a broken-down big-rig he is helping repair, he said.

His 23-year-old son, Itzcoatl Ocampo, was arrested Friday in connection with the serial killings of four homeless men since late December.

Related: Suspect expected to answer to murder charges this week.

Refugio Ocampo said that on Jan. 11 his son came to him with a picture of the first victim, who was killed Dec. 20.

"This is what's happening," the father quoted his son as saying.

"He was very worried about me. I told him, 'Don't worry. I'm a survivor. Nothing will happen to me. I will find something. Count on it,'" the father said.

While Refugio Ocampo lives away from his family, they remain close. He said he sees his children every day, and his wife brings food to the parking lot where the truck is parked in the city of Fullerton.

Itzcoatl Ocampo had been living with his mother, uncle and little brother and sister in a humble rented house on a horse ranch surrounded by the sprawling suburbs of Yorba Linda.

Refugio Ocampo, who said he was educated as a lawyer in Mexico, immigrated with his wife and Itzcoatl in 1988 and became a U.S. citizen. He described building a successful life in which he became a warehouse manager and bought a home in Yorba Linda. In the last few years he lost his job, ran out of savings and lost his house.

His son entered the Marine Corps right out of high school in 2006 instead of going to college as his father had hoped. Itzcoatl Ocampo was discharged in 2010 and returned home to find his family in disarray, the father said.

Refugio Ocampo and his youngest son, Mixcoatl, 17, both described a physical condition Itzcoatl suffered in which his hands shook and he suffered headaches. Medical treatments helped until he started drinking heavily, both said.

"He started drinking like crazy, too much, way too much," the father said.

A neighbor who is a Vietnam veteran and the father both tried to push Itzcoatl to get treatment at a veterans hospital, but he refused. Refugio Ocampo said he wanted his son to get psychological treatment as well.

"He started talking about stuff that didn't make any sense, that the end of the world was going to happen," he said.

"Before, he had the initiative to do things, the desire. But after the military, he didn't have any of that," he said.

That was far from the son who in high school was a polite and motivated student, he said.

Refugio Ocampo said investigators came to him Friday night and showed him surveillance photos from a crime scene, but he did not recognize his son as the person in the images.

"If he did it, it wasn't right, obviously. But there's something wrong with him," he said.

—The Associated Press and Huffington Post

desimal January 16, 2012 at 10:21 PM
As a Marine Vet, I hope Itzcoatl gets the help he needs. He is obviously very troubled and needs to pay for his crimes. There needs to be some way to gainfully employ a returning vet, so he does not end up with the bed of a truck as a home a year after serving. What a terrible situation.
CriticalThinkerInFV January 17, 2012 at 03:25 AM
The father lives in the truck.
CriticalThinkerInFV January 17, 2012 at 03:26 AM
Help for him was the last thing on my mind.
CriticalThinkerInFV January 17, 2012 at 03:31 AM
He lived in the "sprawling suburbs of Yorba Linda."
M January 17, 2012 at 02:31 PM
I agree, vets need to be reintegrated back into society and helping them to find a job should be part of that.
enea ostrich January 17, 2012 at 03:33 PM
I nam not a veteran but once had a lady neighbor whose husband was a Vietnam vet. He would wake up screaming she said and she wouldnt be able to do anything to help him. He was a mild mannered man and loved his family otherwise. I do think at some point he got help because his family loved him so. What troubles this young man Ocampo witnessed in Iraq is bad but i do agree, he needed to be helped with his flashbacks by a medical professional. That post traumatic stress did not get treated and the result is one messed up individual who is going to jail. Yes, he will finally receive medical help but it could have all been prevented by him getting help in the fist place. Then there would be people alive today and his father and family in general woulent have to explain anything to media or the world.
Kerry January 17, 2012 at 06:05 PM
If someone refuses treatment what can you do? Seeing his father after loosing his house and job had an effect too. This recession has brought stress and depression to people that were doing fine. Everyone who has lost a house and job probably need some councilling.
Joker Joe January 17, 2012 at 06:19 PM
What is Obama doing about this? Some of those $35,000 a person parties he holds could go for treatment and re education. Might even get the soldiers jobs. Instead the money flows to Egypt, Pakistan, Syria, etc. When do we take care of our own?

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