The son of a Hollywood executive arrested after he allegedly tossed body parts into a dumpster in Encino was charged Monday with three counts of murder in connection with the disappearance of his wife and in-laws, prosecutors said.
The Los Angeles County district attorney's office filed three special circumstances murder counts against Samuel Bond Haskell in the killing of his wife Mei Haskell and her parents, Yanxiang Wang and Gaoshen Li.
Haskell last Tuesday tried to get day laborers to remove bags from his Tarzana home with what they realized were body parts and, when that failed, he was caught on video dumping them out of the back of his Tesla in Encino, authorities said.
Haskell was arrested following the gruesome discovery of dismembered body parts last Wednesday. Los Angeles police investigators say those remains are likely those of his wife. Both his in-laws remain missing.
Haskell briefly appeared in a courtroom Monday as a judge ordered he be held without bail, pending a Dec. 8 hearing.
LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division detectives arrested Haskell after working through the weekend, gathering evidence from his home in the 4100 block of Coldstream Terrace in Tarzana and around the Encino dumpster at a strip mall where a man found a suitcase with fresh human remains. Investigators found evidence of body disposal inside the home and brought a dog that tracks human remains to check the surrounding area.
Haskell tried last Tuesday to pay day laborers $500 to take away bags he first said were full of rocks, and then said were Halloween decorations, the workers told a reporter for NBC4. But the day laborers told NBC4 the contents felt like meat. “When we picked up the bags, we could tell they weren't rocks,” one of the workers said in Spanish.
The men described the bags as soft and soggy, weighing about 50 pounds. They stopped their truck a block away, checked inside and saw human remains, identifying a belly button. They returned the remains and reported the discovery first to CHP and then to the LAPD. But the bags were gone when authorities to check it out, police said.
A person believed to be Haskell was then captured on security cameras opposite an Encino strip mall. The video obtained by Fox News shows a man hauling a large and seemingly heavy sack over his shoulder from the back of his Tesla at about 4:45 p.m. Tuesday and dumping it into a trash bin.
An unhoused man Wednesday morning found a human torso stuffed into a duffel and thrown in a trash bin in a parking lot near Ventura Boulevard and Rubio Avenue — about five miles away from Haskell's home, police said.
LAPD Capt. Scot Williams of the Robbery-Homicide Division said the torso is assumed to be that of Haskell's wife, Mei Haskell, who has not been located. But forensics will be needed to confirm the identity.
Haskell, his wife and her parents all lived in a single-story home. The couple's three children were in school the day their father was arrested, authorities said.
Williams said detectives would present a criminal investigation to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office Monday afternoon for filing. None of the missing persons have been located.
LAPD Det. Efren Gutierrez told reporters last week that efforts to reach Mei Haskell's parents had yielded no results. "They would normally be home in these hours, and attempts have been made to contact them by phone, by cellphone, and no answer. And the same with Mei. She is unaccounted for."
Inside Haskell's house, detectives discovered blood and other evidence consistent with killing and dismemberment, according to investigators.
Court records show that in December 2008, Haskell was arrested and charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. He pleaded no contest to battery and was placed on probation in 2010.
Records show that Haskell is the son of Sam Haskell, the former executive vice president and worldwide head of television for William Morris who represented a slew of A-list stars and is still listed as head of Magnolia Hill Productions, which has produced several specials featuring Dolly Parton.
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.