Located about 20 miles from downtown Los Angeles, West Covina is home to about 110,000 people. West Covina has a crime rate that is lower than much of the greater Los Angeles. With that said, in more recent times, the city has experienced some notorious cases that have snared headlines across the county, state, and even the country.
Crime and the Mayor of West Covina
Although not a situation that required crime scene cleanup, a major current crime story in West Covina involves the community’s Mayor. The role of Mayor in this city is largely ceremonial and rotates between members of the City Council.
Mike Spence, the Mayor of West Covina, has a history with abusing alcohol and using methamphetamine and cocaine. In advance of becoming Mayor, late in 2017, Spence told the City Council that he had not used alcohol or illicit drugs for about a year. Late in 2016 Spence has been arrested for driving under the influence of drugs.
According to law enforcement in Costa Mesa, they responded to a welfare call at an area hotel after midnight. The police have received a call that the mayor had overdosed.
They went to the West Covina Mayor’s hotel room to find Spence sharing the room with a yet to be identified individual. Spence was unconscious. The police report that “controlled substance items” were found at the scene.
These items were seized for analysis. The matter has been submitted to the Orange County District Attorney.
The Mayor was taken to an area hospital. He was discharged from the emergency room.
Spence states that he was taking public transportation from West Covina to the California Republican Party Convention in San Diego. He maintained he “got tired” while traveling and decided to spend the night at the hotel where he was found unconscious. He also maintained that he “did nothing wrong” and was taken to the hospital against his wishes.
Despite the Mayor’s protestation, he has resigned as Mayor of West Covina and the City Council voted to make that resignation immediate. The investigation into his alleged drug use is ongoing.
Dispute Over Batman Costume Results in Ax Murder in West Covina
Unlike the matter of Mayor Spence, another recent, notorious crime did necessitate professional crime scene cleanup. This case involved a dispute over a Batman costume and an ax murder.
A dancer names Rocky Reyes wanted to participate in Comic-Con. He commissioned Phillip Wade to make a Batman costume for him for the event.
Wade ended up missing the first deadline for the costume. As the second deadline approached, Wade (the costume creator) invited Reyes (the dancer) to his home. When Reyes entered Wade’s residence, Wade proceeded to kill Reyes with an ax.
After murdering Reyes, Wade took the body up the Azusa Canyon. The remains were found five days after the murder.
Two Types of Crime Scene Cleanup
The murder over the Batman costume illustrates two types of situations in West Covina in which a crime scene cleanup becomes necessary. The first scenario centers on what occurred in the West Covina home when the victim was killed with an ax.
A homicide of this nature results in the release of blood and other bodily fluids. Because blood and bodily fluids can contain dangerous pathogens, professional crime scene cleanup is advised to protect against infection by viruses of bacteria.
The fact that the body itself was not found for five days illustrates another situation in which crime scene cleanup is called upon. A reality of the human decomposition process is that it started directly after a person dies.
Five days out from death, the decomposition process is well underway. By this juncture, dangerous pathogens will have released from the remains in the form of blood and other bodily fluids as well as hazardous gasses.
Because of where the body was found, law enforcement and the Coroner’s Office arranged for crime scene cleanup at the site. When a body is discovered, or a crime committed, in a residence or business, crime scene cleanup is the responsibility of the owner.
Grief Counseling Groups and Therapists Serving West Covina
Queen of the Valley Hospital in West Covina provides a spectrum of different services for people dealing with grief, including traumatic grief that can follow the homicide of a loved one. This includes individual grief therapy as well as access to grief support groups. Contact information for the hospital:
1115 Sunset Avenue
West Covina, California 91790
There are grief support groups that serve residents of West Covina. These include:
750 Terrado Plaza #215
Covina, California 91723