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A 21-year-old California man is accused of torturing and killing his girlfriend at their home on Christmas Eve, authorities said.
Saul Nava was arrested Friday for murder, mayhem and torture in the death of his 24-year-old girlfriend, who has yet to be identified, according to a statement from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.
On Dec. 24, sheriff’s deputies responded to the couple’s Thousand Oaks home in the 600 Block of McCloud Avenue at around 1:18 a.m. following an emergency call. A gravely injured woman was found unresponsive at the scene. Life-saving measures were unsuccessful and first responders pronounced the woman dead at the scene.
Investigators haven’t released a cause or manner of death, pending an autopsy, Sgt. Tim Lohman of the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office told Oxygen.com on Monday afternoon.
Nava, who county authorities identified as the victim’s boyfriend, was arrested on-scene at approximately 1:25 a.m., according to online jail records, which indicate he's a mechanic.
Authorities later executed a search warrant at Nava’s home, where additional evidence was seized tying him to the death. The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office declined to disclose what evidence led them to suspect Nava had tortured his girlfriend in the course of her death
The Ventura County Sheriff’s Office couldn’t immediately confirm whether the couple was previously known to authorities. In its statement, the sheriff's office described the woman's death as a "domestic violence incident."
“This is a tragedy in itself,” Lohman told Oxygen.com. “Not only in the case of the victim, but the victim’s family and everyone else involved. It’s an absolute tragedy. All around, when we think about the holidays, it’s hard enough with the pressures and everything with what’s going on in the world and then with a situation like this to happen, it’s difficult, and it’s a difficult time of year.”
Nava was booked into a Ventura County pre-trial detention facility shortly noon on Dec. 24, according to jail records. He’s being held on a $2 million bail. Nava has yet to face formal charges, according to a spokesperson for the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office.
His arraignment is set for 1:30 p.m. on Dec. 28 in superior court, officials said. It’s unclear if Nava has retained legal counsel.
Anyone with additional information related to the case is urged to contact Major Crimes Sergeant Albert Ramirez with the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office at 805-384-4761 or by contacting Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
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