Caretaker Arrested After Senior's Body Found in Riverside County Care Facility Trash Bin

She allegedly used a knife, box cutter, screwdriver and a hammer in the crime.

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Riverside County Sheriff's Department

Coroner's officials released the name of the man whose body was discovered inside a trash bin at a residential care facility in a gated neighborhood in La Quinta.

Ronald Clarke, 87, was a resident at the board-and-care home prior to his body being found on Nov. 21 in the 43-500 block of East Parkway Esplanade, according to the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

A caretaker at the facility, Cristina Noelle Canimo, 32, of Palm Desert, was charged last week with capital murder and torture. She allegedly used a knife, box cutter, screwdriver and a hammer in the crime.

A possible motive for the killing remains a mystery.

The name of the board-and-care facility has not been released, however, The Desert Sun reported that Sunbrook Residential Care, located at 43-574 E. Parkway Esplanade, was visited by California Department of Social Services investigators the week of the murder regarding the death of one of its residents.

Sunbrook has been the subject of several evaluation and complaint investigation reports since 2015, the paper reported. A Department of Social Services representative told The Desert Sun last week the facility remained open as of Nov. 26.

The murder charge against Canimo includes a special circumstance allegation of torture during the commission of a murder, making her eligible for the death penalty if the District Attorney's Office decides to pursue it.

Canimo appeared last Tuesday before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Harold Hopp, who ordered her held without bail and rescheduled her arraignment for Dec. 9 at the Larson Justice Center in Indio.

Canimo, who is being held in Indio jail, was arrested at 3 a.m. on Nov. 22, the day after the body was discovered.

She was arrested on the same street where the body was found, according to jail records. It is unclear if she was arrested at the same board-and-care facility where she was employed.

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