Police officials in California have identified a man accused of killing four of his family members, including two children, before driving one victim’s body more than 200 miles from home and turning himself in at a police station.
Shankar Nagappa Hangud, 53, of Roseville, is charged with four counts of murder, according to Roseville police Capt. Josh Simon. Hangud, who is believed to be of East Indian descent, was initially arrested in Mount Shasta, where he turned himself in.
He was returned to Placer County, where he was booked into the jail just before 3 a.m. Tuesday, jail records show.
“It appears the victims were killed by this suspect over a few days’ time span,” Simon said during a Tuesday media update. “We’re still working to put that timeline together.”
Simon said investigators are seeking the public’s help in establishing a timeline.
“Within the last week, the suspect left his home in Roseville with one adult male victim of East Indian descent. They drove away in his vehicle,” the captain said. “They drove from Roseville, traveled to unknown places in northern California and ended up in Mount Shasta.”
Hangud was driving a red Mazda 6, photos of which Roseville investigators released Tuesday. The car bore California tag number 7ZJH479.
Simon said the timeline of the killings could go as far back as a week or begin as recently as just a few days ago. It was not clear yet if Hangud left his apartment and returned while some of the victims were still alive or if he killed them all and never went back home.
Investigators are keeping tight-lipped about a possible motive for the homicides.
“At this time, we are not releasing a motive for these crimes, as this remains an active investigation,” Simon said. “We’re continuing to work in coordination with the Mount Shasta Police Department, Placer County District Attorney’s Office, Siskiyou County District Attorney’s Office and Siskiyou County Sheriff-Coroner’s Office.”
Simon asked anyone who may have spotted Hangud -- with or without the male East Indian victim -- or his car between Roseville and Mount Shasta over the past week to call investigators at the Roseville Police Department at 916-746-1059.
The cause of and time of death for each victim was still being determined Tuesday. Investigators were withholding the identities of the victims, as well as their relationship to the suspect, pending positive identification and family notification by the Placer County coroner.
“If you have information about this family, we are asking that you please contact the Roseville Police Department,” he said.
Roseville and Mount Shasta authorities said Hangud walked into the Mount Shasta Police Department just after noon Monday and told officers he had killed four relatives in his apartment in Roseville.
“(Hangud) claimed to have murdered individuals at his residence here in Roseville,” Simon said during a news conference Monday evening. “One of the victims was inside the vehicle at the Mount Shasta Police Department in Siskiyou County, and other victims were at an apartment here in Roseville.”
Watch Tuesday's media update on the case below.
Mount Shasta officers went outside and found Hangud’s passenger dead in the car, officials said. It was not yet known Tuesday if the man was killed in the car or at Hangud’s apartment.
After the gruesome discover, investigators in Mount Shasta made a phone call down to their counterparts in Roseville, which is located about 20 miles outside of Sacramento.
“Officers were dispatched to an apartment complex in the 1800 block of Junction Boulevard in Roseville and confirmed there were three additional victims found deceased at the scene,” Simon said.
Hangud’s apartment at Carmel at Woodcreek West was swarming with investigators and crime scene technicians Monday.
Roseville police are investigating a quadruple homicide. Three victims were found in an apt in Roseville and the other body was found in a vehicle in Mt. Shasta. Police found out after a man turned himself in today. @ABC10 pic.twitter.com/xA5TyjkGTh— Ananda Rochita (@AnandaRochita) October 15, 2019
AHEAD: Nine hours and counting... investigators are still at the apartment complex where @RSVL_Police believe 4 people were killed... one of the bodies driven to Mt. Shasta. @FOX40 @mtshastapd pic.twitter.com/qTLWyStwGH— Sonseeahray Tonsall (@tonsalltv) October 15, 2019
“He just came in and told our dispatcher that I want to confess to a murder, and then just gave it up,” Mount Shasta police Sgt. Robert Gibson told The New York TimesTimes. “I have never had someone come in with a body and turn themselves in here. This was unusual for us.”
Gibson said officers at the front desk initially didn’t believe Hangud. He then handed them the keys to his car, which was parked out front.
Photos posted on Fox 40's Twitter page showed the car covered by a red tarp outside the station. Police tape roped off the scene.
UPDATE: FOX40 obtained these photographs of a covered vehicle surrounded by crime tape parked near the Mt. Shasta Police Department. A suspect told Mt. Shasta police he had a body in his car and three additional victims were in his apartment in Roseville: https://t.co/T4RrhyfQJ4 pic.twitter.com/Zb68VpgYSp— FOX40 News (@FOX40) October 15, 2019
Simon said Monday that the two departments were working in tandem to piece together what happened.
“There is this distance between the two jurisdictions,” Simon said. “The detectives both at the scene here and the detectives up at the scene in Mount Shasta are really trying to backtrack and figure out: Are there additional crimes?”
Watch Capt. Josh Simon give an initial briefing on the case below.
Hangud is the sole suspect in the slayings, Simon said. He said information remained somewhat scarce in the investigation, which on Tuesday was less than 24 hours old.
“We appreciate everyone’s patience as we work to share more information as it becomes available,” Simon said.
Simon said the quadruple homicides have left a mark on the Roseville community, which, unlike the tiny city of Mount Shasta, is the largest city in Placer County. U.S. Census Bureau estimates for 2016 put the city’s population at around 132,000.
Roseville played an important role in authorities’ capture last year of Joseph James DeAngelo Jr., the suspected Golden State Killer who was nabbed after investigators traced DNA evidence from the notorious, long-unsolved case to DeAngelo’s family tree.
They confirmed the DNA match by obtaining a sample of DeAngelo’s DNA off the door handle of his car, which sat in the parking lot of a Hobby Lobby in Roseville while DeAngelo was inside the store.
Monday’s quadruple homicide had Hangud's neighbors at Carmel at Woodcreek West nervous. One neighbor, Eric McDermid, told CBS Sacramento the situation was “absolutely insane.”
“It’s kind of surprising, but I guess this kind of stuff can happen anywhere,” resident Philip McGinty told the news station.
Simon said Tuesday that the quadruple homicide was considered an isolated incident in Roseville, which he described as “an extremely safe, family-oriented community.” He said he could not recall such a deadly crime happening in the city during his time with the department.
“It’s had an effect on the community, it’s had an effect on the first responders and everybody involved,” Simon said. “It’s just a sad, sad situation.”
© 2019 Cox Media Group.