South LA Strangulation Still Haunts Detective

"I can only imagine the fear he must've had as this was happening to him. And the fact that he suffered," he said

It was just before Christmas, December 15, 2015 and in broad daylight, that the body of 37-year-old Carl Hall was discovered in a South LA back alley. A local transient discovered the body and alerted police, who found Hall's remains dumped in a pile of garbage.

"He was beaten, strangled and then dumped there," LAPD South Bureau Criminal Gang Homicide Detective Shawn Svoboda said.

Det. Sveboda said he chose to take on this case for personal reasons after it was discovered that the victim was developmentally disabled.

"He had the mental capacity of a 12-year-old," Svoboda said. "The fact that he could be taken advantage of and hurt so badly and that he wouldn't have the capacity to understand why it was happening to him or what was happening to him, it struck a chord with me."

And yet that chord doesn't seem to be playing in South LA where clues and tips have been few and far between.

"I can only imagine the fear he must've had as this was happening to him. And the fact that he suffered," he said, adding that people with disabilities are often marginalized in society.

"They don't have anyone to speak for them," he said. "So as homicide investigators, we speak for the deceased. We tell their story, we advocate for justice."

The alley sits between 73rd and 74th streets off Broadway. A homeless encampment lies at the end of it. Witnesses alerted detectives to surveillance video where police have been trying to find a possible suspect vehicle.

"They saw traffic come through this back alley and they believe some of that traffic may be the people who dumped Carl in this back alley," Det. Svoboda said.

Hall's case is one that's peaked the interest of disability activists across the state, including Pamila Lew, an attorney with Disability Rights California.

"We've been saying for decades now actually, this is almost a public health priority," Lew said, adding that often times adults with limited mental capacity become easy targets in crimes that are seldom reported.

"Sometimes issues of cognition, wanting to please other people, being dependent on other people at times who can unfortunately take advantage of them," she said. "I'd like to think that people, if given the opportunity, will have more empathy."

She applauds Det. Svoboda for his efforts.

"I'm so grateful for officers like that, because those are the people who make a difference," she said.

And yet Svoboda's job is getting harder by the day. As the days pass since Hall's death very few have come forward to help with information.

"I trust people that live in this community that they're going to come forward if they have information that they're going to find Carl's killer," Det. Svoboda said. "The fact that somebody would see Carl, and do this to him, beat him, strangle him and then dump him in a pile of garbage, you'd have to be cold-hearted."

Svoboda said anyone with information is urged to contact LAPD's South Bureau Criminal Gang Homicide Division at 323-786-5113.

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