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Arrest Made in 2012 Discovery of Human Head Near Hollywood Sign

An investigation that began in the Hollywood Hills after the discovery of a severed head two years ago led to an arrest in San Antonio

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    NEWSLETTERS

    New details have surfaced after a man was charged with the murder of his 66-year-old roommate, whose body parts were found in Griffith Park two years ago, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced. Beverly White reports for the NBC4 News at 11 on Monday, March 10, 2014.

    Police announced an arrest Monday in the case of a slain retired Mexicana Airlines employee whose remains were found by dog walkers in January 2012 on a hiking trail near the Hollywood sign.

    Gabriel Campos Martinez, 38, was arrested Sunday in connection with the remains, found by two women who were walking their dogs on a Griffith Park trail just below the sign (map). More body parts were found during a search of the popular hiking area with a cadaver dog.

    The remains were identified as 66-year-old Hervey Coronado Medellin, a Los Angeles resident who had been reported missing days earlier.

    Arrest in Severed Head Case

    [LA] Arrest in Severed Head Case
    Two years after police discovered body parts scattered around Griffith Park, officials believe they have a break in the case. Patrick Healy reports for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Monday, March 10, 2014.

    Martinez and Medellin were in a relationship, according to Deputy District Attorney Bobby Grace.

    Hollywood Sign Body Parts Case Leads to Texas

    [LA] Search in Hollywood Sign Body Parts Case Leads to Texas
    A man is arrested in San Antonio more than two years after the discovery of a severed head on a Hollywood hiking trail. Patrick Healy reports for the NBC4 News at Noon on Monday March 10, 2014.

    The arrest came after Los Angeles police worked with members of the San Antonio Police Department to identify Martinez. He was arrested Sunday in San Antonio and is awaiting extradition proceedings, according to Los Angeles police. He is being held at Bexar County Jail, but could be in Los Angeles soon.

    "We filed extradition papers in the state of Texas. And we expect that…some hearing will happen within the next couple of days. And he could be back in Los Angeles by the end of the week," Grace said.

    Details regarding the arrest were not immediately available.

    "We're very happy police did not forget about this crime and that they were able to follow through" Medellin's cousin, Juan Gonzalez, told NBC4 via phone.

    Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck was asked at a mid-day news conference whether the suspect was attempting to escape to Mexico.

    "I believe, based on my limited knowledge, that he had re-established in Texas," Beck said.

    A statement from the department described Martinez as the "suspect responsible" for Medellin's slaying.

    "Detectives had him as a person of interest since the onset of the investigation," Beck said. "The DAs travelled with us to Texas to do the interview and make the arrest."

    Martinez lived in a Hollywood apartment he once shared with the Medellin, Beck said.

    The remains' discovery touched off a search in the area below the Hollywood sign near the Bronson Canyon Park gates in the 3200 block of Canyon Drive. Hands and feet were found within a 50-yard radius of the severed head, which was found off the trail in a plastic bag by one of the dogs.

    The head fell out when one of the dogs shook the plastic bag, authorities said.

    Police have said they believe the victim was killed elsewhere and his remains dumped just inside the park.

    Grace confirmed that Medellin was strangled, but would not discuss cmotive or the recovery of any evidence.

    "The autopsy report reveals that it was either a meat saw or a knife that was used to dismember the body," Grace said.

    Neighbors said Medellin (pictured, right) lived in an apartment complex with his roommate south of Bronson Canyon Park. Family members in Texas said he was a retiree after working for 25 years with Mexicana Airlines.

    Medellin visited Los Angeles in the early 70s and moved to the city, the family said.