Scripps Ranch

Scripps Ranch Man, 87, Found Dead in Nearly Empty Pool Had Restraining Order Against Suspect: Police

The victim was found dead at the bottom of what police described as a "nearly empty" swimming pool

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A man already in jail for allegedly violating a restraining order filed against him by an 87-year-old Scripps Ranch resident was arrested Thursday on suspicion of killing the octogenarian and leaving his body in the victim's backyard swimming pool.

Jeffrey Smith, 60, will face a charge of first-degree murder in connection with the death last week of Birch Glen Court resident William Deignan, according to the San Diego Police Department.

A family member reported Deignan's death as an apparent drowning on the afternoon of Aug. 2. Patrol officers and paramedics arrived to find the man's body at the bottom of the victim's nearly empty swimming pool.

"During the preliminary investigation into (Deignan's) death, officers noted circumstances that were considered suspicious," SDPD Lt. Steve Shebloski said. "In an abundance of caution ... homicide detectives were called to the scene (to investigate) the incident."

Police have not disclosed Deignan's cause of death or revealed the purported suspicious conditions documented on the day his body was discovered.

A homicide investigation is underway in Scripps Ranch.

Since then, investigators have "developed probable cause to believe that Deignan was killed at his home" and discovered the existence of a restraining order "protecting Deignan and his residence from ... Smith," Shebloski said.

On Monday, officers responding to a request for a security check at Deignan's house found Smith there and took him into custody on suspicion of violating a court order.

Smith is being held without bail at San Diego Central Jail pending arraignment, scheduled for Monday afternoon.

Copyright CNS - City News Service
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