Suspect arrested in death of Camarillo manFree Access

IN CUSTODY—Rotherie Foster of Camarillo was arrested Jan. 13 on suspicion of murder, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office said. Police say the 37-year-old is responsible for the death of 35-year-old Jose Velasquez, whose body was found in October off a private road near Mulholland Highway in Los Angeles County. Courtesy VCSO

Police have made an arrest in the slaying of 35-year-old Jose Velasquez, whose bullet-torn body was discovered off a private road outside Agoura Hills in October. The young business owner was reported missing July 30.

Rotherie Foster, 37, of Camarillo was arrested Jan. 13 on suspicion of murder, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office announced Friday.

Foster has been in jail since mid-August, records show, when deputies picked him up on identity theft charges. After those charges were dismissed Nov. 9, the sheriff’s department immediately rearrested Foster for gun crimes, saying he’d been found in a car with a loaded handgun equipped with a high-capacity magazine, according to court records.

Foster is being held on $2-million bail. 

The sheriff’s office has been tight-lipped around its investigation into Velasquez’s disappearance since the young man vanished following a night out with friends on July 27 in Thousand Oaks. In a Jan. 13 news release, the department suggested it had suspected foul play from the start and had conducted “extensive searches of remote areas” to try and locate Velasquez’s body.

A husband and wife out for a hike near Malibou Lake discovered Velasquez on Oct. 3 near Mulholland Highway in unincorporated Los Angeles County. His body was wrapped in a tarp that was tied down by a bungee cord.

An autopsy conducted by the LA County medical examiner’s office determined Velasquez died from multiple gunshot wounds.

Known by family members as “Toñito,” Velasquez, an immigrant from Honduras, had recently started his own contractor business and moved to Camarillo from Simi Valley. Friends and family described him as fun-loving and kind, and just beginning to enjoy the fruits of his labor.

DREAM UPENDED—Jose Velasquez had started his own business and moved into own his home in Camarillo in the months before his murder. “Toñito,” as he was known to family, moved from Virginia to California in 2016 to live with relatives in Simi Valley. Courtesy photo

Velasquez had a passion for soccer and played in various adult leagues around the area. He worked for a time at the Tilted Kilt in Thousand Oaks. He had moved into his own apartment in Camarillo the week before he went missing, family said.

Police discovered Velasquez’s work truck, a white Ram ProMaster 2500 High Roof, parked on Rancho Conejo Boulevard in Newbury Park in front of an apartment complex in late July, which struck family as odd because none of his clients lived in apartments.

The Ventura County district attorney’s office is currently reviewing the case and will decide by Tuesday whether to file murder charges against Foster, the DA said. 

District Attorney Erik Nasarenko and Sheriff Jim Fryhoff have planned a joint news conference for Wed., Jan. 18 to discuss the case.