A San Diego man is behind bars after being charged with the murder of his co-worker, a 63-year-old woman found dead inside a business in Mira Mesa early Sunday morning after she failed to come home from work.
The San Diego Police Department said Leopoldo Pacuan, 49, was allegedly involved in the murder of Raquel Morales.
On May 18, at around 2 a.m., police officers received a phone call from Morales’ husband, who said he was worried because Morales hadn’t come home from work at her usual time.
He asked police to check on her welfare at her workplace, the LBC Express business office in the 8900 block of Mira Mesa Boulevard.
When officers arrived at the business, they made a grisly discovery: Morales was found dead, with obvious signs of trauma to her body. A murder investigation was launched, and detectives worked all week to trace the killer.
Investigators said evidence shows Pacuan killed Morales. A lieutenant close to the case said the suspect was an employee at LBC Express, but was on leave from work at the time of the crime.
The case remains under investigation, but investigators believe the motive was robbery.
Detectives believe Pacuan stole several pieces of jewelry from Morales before killing her, including a watch, bracelet and ring. He didn’t take anything of value from the business, a lieutenant told NBC 7.
“We believe the motive was robbery. He didn’t get anything from the LBC Express business, but he took the victim’s purse, watch, and wedding ring. We believe the victim and suspect knew each other from their work contact, but there is no indication that they had a personal relationship,” the official told NBC 7.
“The brutal nature of the murder has some people believing there was an underlying additional motive but we don’t see that,” he continued.
The LBC Express website describes the business as a 24-hour air cargo delivery service that also offers an express courier and money remittance service throughout the Philippines.
According to investigators, Pacuan worked as a courier driver. However, other employees have said they were unaware of any problems between Pacuan and Morales.
A manager at the business called Pacuan a "gentleman" and said she was shocked to hear of his arrest.
Pacuan is currently being held at San Diego Central Jail on a first-degree murder charge. He’s scheduled to appear in court Wednesday.
NBC 7 reached out to Morales' family Friday. They are grief-stricken and are asking for privacy during this difficult time.