Man Accused of Killing Girlfriend, Dumping Body

The body of Juanita Kawash, 47, was found covered with trash behind a dumpster in Vista on Aug. 19

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    A man accused of killing his girlfriend and disposing her body behind a dumpster, covered in plastic and trash, has pleaded not guilty to the slaying.

    Kirk Stapleton, 53, has been booked into county jail on suspicion of murdering his girlfriend, Juanita Kawash, 47.

    Body Found Near Dumpster in Vista

    [DGO] Body Found Near Dumpster in Vista
    This is video taken from the scene of a suspicious death. San Diego County sheriff's deputies were called in to investigate after a woman's body was found near the dumpster of a business in Vista. (Published Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013)

    On Aug. 19, at around 3:45 p.m., deputies from the Vista Sheriff’s Station responded to a call of a suspicious package left near 1461 N. Santa Fe Avenue in Vista.

    When deputies checked the area, they found Kawash’s deceased body on the ground behind a dumpster at the rear of a few businesses, including a laundromat. She was wrapped in plastic and covered in trash and debris.

    Kawash was later identified by officials who say her last known address was in Vista. The medical examiner determined she was killed as a result of blunt force trauma.

    Stapleton was then arrested in connection to her murder. Investigators say Stapleton and Kawash were in a romantic relationship at the time of her killing.

    The motive for the murder has not yet been determined, and the case remains under investigation. Anyone with information on this case should contact Homicide Detail at (858) 974-2321 or (858) 565-5200, or Crime Stoppers at (888) 580-8477.

    Stapleton is being held at the Vista Detention Facility and is not eligible for release. His hearing is set for later this month.