A man was charged with capital murder Monday after answering a Cal State Northridge student’s ad for a $36,500 Audi, stabbing the student and later dumping his body along a freeway, LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said Monday.
Abdullah Abdullatif Alkadi, a 23-year-old international student from Saudi Arabia, was found dead alongside the 10 Freeway near the Cook Street overpass in Palm Desert about 11:50 p.m. Oct. 16, police said. Before his disappearance, he was last seen Sept. 17 at his Northridge home.
The day of his disappearance, Alkadi met Long Beach resident Agustin Rosendo Fernandez, 28, after posting his Audi for sale on Craigslist, Beck said, calling the death "a very sad case." Alkadi disappeared while showing the Audi to what he believed was a prospective buyer, Beck said.
Fernandez allegedly used a knife to kill Alkadi in an attempt to "keep both the Audi and the purchase price," and disposed of his body alongside the 10 Freeway in Palm Desert, Beck said. Alkadi's body had multiple stab wounds.
Jail records show Fernandez was arrested Oct. 16 at 10:15 a.m, more than 13 hours before police reported Alkadi's body was discovered.
Police did not say when during the last month Alkadi was killed.
"The message for the public here is that you have to beware when you're using online Internet sites when you're selling anything," Beck said. "Opportunities for sales are also opportunities to let unwanted people into your lives."
Alkadi's cousin Allison Alomair told NBC4 last month the Audi A6 was put up for sale at $36,500.
"There were several contacts, it took place over two or three days," Beck said, adding that the two met at Alkadi’s residence initially. Beck said he would not give any more details on the transaction.
LAPD Capt. William Hayes of the Robbery-Homicide Division said on Monday investigators spoke with Fernandez earlier in the investigation but did not arrest him right away.
"There was something early on in the investigation, but again this is an investigative strategy, it doesn't fall into place immediately and they're all parts of a jigsaw puzzle," Hayes said. "As I used the example before, you can get the outside pieces together but until you get the rest for the middle, you don't know where it is."
Police on Sunday announced two arrests in the case, but the second person was released from custody.
"The evidence supported and continues to support the arrest and prosecution of Mr. Fernandez," Beck said. "At this point, we are not going forward with the other one."
Prosecutors on Monday charged Fernandez with one count of murder with special circumstances of murder during a robbery and murder during a carjacking, according to a statement by the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.
The special circumstance allegations make Fernandez eligible for the death penalty. Prosecutors will decide later whether to seek death or life in state prison without the possibility of parole. He is being held without bail and is due back in court Nov. 17.