Escondido police say a body found a couple weeks ago dumped near Lake Henshaw has been positively identified as 71-year-old Stanley Stephens, an Escondido resident who went missing in early August.
Stephens’ body was found Sept. 6 near Lake Henshaw and Santa Ysabel by a road crew working on a bridge in the area, said Escondido police Lt. Suzanne Baeder.
The county Medical Examiner’s Office performed an autopsy and confirmed Stephens’ identity.
Even before the body was found, police arrested 32-year-old Eduardo Zamoro in connection with the killing.
He has pleaded not guilty to a sole count of murder and an allegation he used a knife in the slaying. The criminal complaint indicates Stephens’ death occurred on or about Aug. 10 — the last day he was seen alive.
Escondido police won’t discuss any relationship there might have been between the victim and Zamora, who was arrested Sept. 2. Baeder said the case is still being investigated.
Neighbors told police that Stephens was often seen walking in his neighborhood near North Broadway and Jesmond Dene Road, close to Jesmond Dene Park and Reidy Creek Golf Course. He also was involved in his church, Baeder said.
“He just seemed like a nice guy who walked his neighborhood a lot,” she said.
Stephens was reported missing Aug. 13. Four days later, search and rescue personnel scoured roadsides, embankments and ditches near where he liked to walk. Law enforcement officers initially said foul play was not suspected.
Zamoro is expected to appear at a hearing in December in Vista Superior Court.
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