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La Quinta homicide victim found in trash can identified

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The Riverside County Coroner's Bureau has released the identity of a homicide victim whose body was found in a La Quinta trash can on November 21.

87-year-old Ronald Clarke's body was found at 11:50 a.m. outside of a residence on the 43000 block of Parkway Esplanade East in La Quinta. A felony complaint acquired News Channel 3 listed the victim's name as 'Ronald C.'

On November 26, 32-year-old Cristina Noelle Canimo of Palm Desert was set to be arraigned for murder. Her arraignment was postponed until December 9th.

Canimo was taken into custody at 3 a.m. Friday, 15 hours after deputies initially responded to the scene

The felony complaint, filed on the 26th, alleges that Canimo used a "knife...boxcutter...screwdriver...[and] hammer" in the torture and killing of the victim, identified in the document as "Ronald C".

Canimo was charged with two felonies: murder with malice (violation of California Penal Code section 187) and torture (violation of California Penal Code section 206). She also faces the special circumstance of torture in commission of murder. If convicted, she could be eligible for a death sentence.

"The defendant did willfully and unlawfully and with the intent to cause cruel or extreme pain and suffering for the purpose of revenge, extortion, persuasion, or for any sadistic purpose, inflicted great bodily injury upon the person of another, to wit: Ronald C," read an excerpt from the felony complaint.

Viewers told News Channel 3 that Canimo was a caregiver at the location of the crime, Sunbrook Residential Care, an elderly residential care facility.

State documents uncovered by News Channel 3 revealed a sordid past for the facility, with staff members being hired despite criminal records and the traumatic injury of a patient in the past year.

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Sam Benson Smith

Sam Benson Smith is the Digital Content Director for Gulf California Broadcasting. Learn more about Sam here.

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