HAWAIIAN GARDENS - A man was arrested Monday morning on suspicion of murdering his wife, whose body was found Sunday morning in her car in a Hawaiian Gardens Casino parking lot, a Sheriff's Department official said.
Thomas Infante, 60, was arrested about 1 a.m. at the couple's West Covina home and booked on suspicion of killing Charita Tolentino, 57. Infante is held on $1 million bail at the West Covina Police Department, said Lt. John Corina of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Bureau.
It appears Tolentino died from blunt force trauma, but an autopsy will determine the cause of death, Corina said.
Infante reported Tolentino missing on Saturday to the West Covina police, where the couple lived with their 17-year-old daughter. Infante told police his wife finished work Friday morning, but didn't return home, Corina said.
Tolentino's family began searching for her and contacted her cell phone provider, which gave an approximate location of the phone. The family's search led to Tolentino's red Toyota RAV4 in the the Hawaiian Gardens Casino parking lot, Corina said.
Either her sister or brother-in-law, who found the vehicle, contacted the sheriff's department about 9:20 a.m. Sunday, Corina said. Neither of them touched the vehicle, but when deputies checked the car, they found her body in an uncovered hatchback.
The body was visible from outside the vehicle, Corina said.
Sheriff's investigators then served a search warrant at the couple's home, where they found evidence implicating Infante in Tolentino's murder, but Corina wouldn't say what evidence was retrieved. Infante was arrested shortly thereafter, Corina said.
"It appears from the evidence collected at the couple's home that Thomas Infante killed Charita Tolentino at their home and then drove her body in a car, which he parked and abandoned in the parking lot of the Hawaiian Gardens Casino," Corina said.
Corina wouldn't say yet why Infante allegedly abandoned Tolentino's body in the parking lot or how he left the area after allegedly parking the car.
Detectives are scheduled to file their case shortly with the Los Angeles County district attorney, he said.
Anyone with information on Tolentino's death should contact Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department's homicide detectives, 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can be submitted at lacrimestoppers.org.