John Hautz was found dead in his home
Photo courtesy of SMPD

Santa Monica police are searching for leads in the apparent murder of an elderly Sunset Park resident found dead in his home on New Year’s Day.

Investigators say a concerned neighbor discovered the body of John Hautz, 88, on the floor of his house on 2300 block of 34th Street and called police.

“The victim suffered wounds to his body that were consistent with having dealt with a traumatic injury,” Santa Monica Police Lt. Saul Rodriguez said.

Los Angeles County Assistant Chief Investigations Officer Ed Winter further explained that Hautz had “multiple sharp-edged wounds” on his body, especially his torso.

“There were multiple trauma injuries and a head wound that appears to suggest hitting or stabbing,” Winter said.

Hautz reportedly lived alone. Vach Galfayan, owner of Fast Taco on Ocean Park Boulevard, said Hautz frequented the restaurant for many years and was always very friendly.

“He was a very sweet man. He would talk to anybody,” Galfayan said. “It’s very surprising to hear that he died [this way].”

Investigators are still trying to locate relatives of Hautz and potential witnesses and suspects. Anyone with information is asked to call the Santa Monica Police Department at (310) 458-8449 or, to remain anonymous, call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.