YORBA LINDA, Calif. - The father of the man suspected of killing homeless men in Southern California is himself homeless and says his son last week showed him a picture of one victim as a warning of the danger of being on the streets.
Refugio Ocampo, 49, also said yesterday that his son came back a changed man after serving with the Marines in Iraq, expressing disillusionment and becoming darker as he struggled to find his way as a civilian.
The father said he lost his job and home, and ended up living under a bridge before finding shelter in the cab of a broken-down big-rig he is helping repair.
His 23-year-old son, Itzcoatl Ocampo, was arrested Friday in connection with the serial killings of four homeless men since late December.
Refugio Ocampo said that on Jan. 11 his son came to him with a picture of the first victim, who was killed on Dec. 20. “This is what’s happening,’’ the father quoted his son as saying.
“He was very worried about me. I told him, ‘Don’t worry. I’m a survivor. Nothing will happen to me. I will find something. Count on it,’ ’’ the father said.
His son entered the Marine Corps right out of high school in 2006 instead of going to college as his father had hoped. Itzcoatl Ocampo was discharged in 2010 and returned home to find his family in disarray, the father said.