A real estate broker whose body was discovered July 18th in a Westchester home listed for sale was stabbed to death, a Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office spokesman said.
Lakewood resident Ricardo Contreras, 45, was found dead in the bedroom of a home in the 8900 block of Kittyhawk Avenue by a real estate company employee who went to retrieve a key for the front door, police said. He was married and had five children, family members told reporters.
An autopsy conducted on Contreras July 24th determined that he died of “multiple sharp-force injuries,” coroner spokes- man Lt. Fred Corral said. Los Angeles police have classified the death as a homicide.
Contreras was remembered by a former employer as a nice, honest man who was liked by his co-workers.
“He was a very kind, very nice person, especially to me. I miss him very much,” said Grace Hu, broker/owner of RE/MAX Realty of Cerritos.
“He was a very low-key, soft spoken person. He worked hard and was very helpful.”
Hu recalled Contreras being a young real estate agent when he came to work for her in 1992 and said the two developed a close working relationship during his ten years with the Cerritos firm. While Contreras left the company a few years ago to become a broker, Hu said he would periodically stay in touch with her over the years.
“He was very honest to me and talked to me about everything. We were just like mother and son,” she said, noting their difference in ages.
“We had a very close relationship.”
Contreras family members were unable to be reached for comment. Hu said a memorial service was scheduled Tuesday, July 28th at Forest Lawn Cemetery. RE/MAX of Cerritos employees have collected $2,500 to donate to the Contreras family, she said.
Los Angeles Police Department Pacific homicide detective Mark Morgan said no suspects have been identified in Contreras’ stabbing death. Detectives are continuing to examine evidence from the crime scene and investigate the possible motive for the stabbing, Morgan said.
No weapon was recovered from the home, where no windows were broken, he said.
Contreras was reported missing by his wife in the morning July 15th and he had reportedly planned to show the Kittyhawk Avenue home to a client, police said.
Another real estate agent had planned to show the home to clients July 18th but was unable to find the front door key in the lock box. The agent then contacted a company employee who unlocked the door and found Contreras dead.
It was reported in The Daily Breeze that Contreras was the brother of Rosalba Contreras, a woman who was convicted of killing a San Pedro couple she victimized in a real estate fraud case that bilked them of $2 million in 1998. Ricardo Contreras was not criminally charged in the case but was accused in the wrongful death lawsuit of notarizing fraudulent documents used in the scheme, the newspaper reported.
Morgan said the family confirmed to police that Rosalba Contreras was Ricardo’s sister, but the detective noted that no evidence has been found that connects her case to his stabbing death.
“There’s nothing that suggests there was some type of revenge from that ten-year case,” Morgan said.
Anyone with information regarding Contreras’ death is encouraged to contact LAPD Pacific detectives at (310) 482-6313.