Is there a new serial killer terrorizing the affluent community of Malibu Canyon? Residents are just now beginning to wonder if a string of crimes over the past two years are connected, and if their lives may be in danger.

Suspicion started with a shocking murder at Malibu Creek State Park this summer. On June 22, a man named Tristan Beaudette was killed while camping with his daughters. He was shot in the chest while asleep in his tent. The killer was never found, there were no leads, and there was no clear motive. Luckily, his two young daughters were unharmed.

The slaying caused people to look back at two other shootings in the same park. In one case, a woman discovered that the tailgate of her truck had been shot while she was asleep inside. In another, a couple slept in their car and awoke to a loud bang. When they checked in the morning, they realized that there was a bullethole in the hatch, and police determined it was fired from close range. In both cases the people were unharmed, but had been shot at in their sleep, similar to Beaudette’s case.

Not long before on May 16, the body of a man named Francisco Reynaldo Cruz, 52, was reportedly dumped in a ditch near Malibu Creek, after being killed elsewhere by “sharp force injuries” to his neck and chest, and a “blunt force injury to the head.” The campground has since been closed down, but unfortunately that isn’t the only place in Malibu Canyon where suspicious activity has occurred. 

On July 27, 2018, the body of 19-year-old Roger Barahona was found on Piuma Road. He had suffered from multiple gunshot wounds. And two years ago in 2016,  a hiker named James Rogers was shot in the arm while he was asleep in a hammock in Tapia State Park. Luckily, he survived. Unfortunately, a 21-year-old named Matthew Weaver Jr. from Simi Valley also went missing on Aug. 10 near Stunt Road and Saddle Peak Rd, and hasn’t been found. 

Many locals, including actor Rob Scheider, are desperate for answers. “We have a serial killer in Malibu. Why isn’t anyone talking about it? He’s killed 7 people in the last 19 months,” he tweeted on Sept. 6. 

It’s no wonder residents are totally freaked out by the sheer amount of incidents in a short period of time, all with no leads. That’s why police put together a task force in August. “Eight confirmed shooting incidents have occurred since 11/3/16,” State Senator Henry Stern said, according to Malibu Times. “The murder of Tristan Beaudette was a senseless act of brutality and I know many rumors persist. Many of you are rightly concerned about the future of public safety here, but these law enforcement agencies have really stepped up and worked together… I’m proud to announce the Santa Monica Mountains Interagency Task Force that you see here today.” 

However, authorities are adamant that people should not be afraid of a serial killer… at least, not yet. “We’re currently investigating the Beaudette murder and two additional murders. The two additional murders were gang-related and Beaudette’s was not,” Moore said. “We do not have a theory or known suspect on Beaudette, but we have very experienced homicide investigators working diligently on the case. We’re not asleep at the wheel.” 

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