Husband Arrested in Woman's Grisly Murder

Investigators said the victim’s body was dismembered and found inside the couple’s Oceanside residence

An Oceanside man has been arrested in connection to the grisly murder of his 73-year-old wife, authorities confirmed Friday night.

According to Oceanside police, the woman was found dead in her home in the 400 block of North Ditmar Street at 11:10 a.m. after neighbors reported a foul odor coming from the residence.

When officers went inside the home, they found the dismembered remains of the deceased woman who had possibly been there for weeks. Officials had to wear masks while investigating the home.

Immediately, police said the circumstances surrounding the woman’s grisly death were suspicious.

Detectives located the woman’s husband, 68-year-old Frederick Hengl, in downtown Oceanside and he voluntarily went with officers for questioning.

After interviewing Hengl, police arrested him on suspicion of his wife’s murder.

Neighbors at the scene told NBC 7 that they had smelled a foul odor coming from the couple’s home for the more than a week. Some neighbors said they thought it may have been a dead animal.

When the stench became far too overbearing, they contacted authorities.

“About a week and a half ago, I noticed a pretty gross smell,” said next-door neighbor Eric Chavez.
According to Chavez, officers in the area asked neighbors if they had recently heard sounds of “heavy machinery” coming from the couple’s home.

“They did ask me about heavy machinery – if I heard anybody using any in the past week or so. I hadn’t heard a single thing,” added Chavez.

Police said they’re familiar with the couple, but hadn’t been to the residence recently on calls of domestic violence.

“We checked the history and we could not find any [domestic violence] incidents here in the past,” confirmed Oceanside Police Department Sgt. Matt Christensen.

Meanwhile, neighbors told NBC 7 the two were an interesting couple.

“The husband is actually known for dressing up like a woman and walking around the neighborhood. It's just a permanent fixture, I guess. It doesn't freak us out anymore,” said resident Jason Chandler. “[The wife] stands out here with a knife and she takes her clothes off out here on the corner.”

“She always carried around a knife. Just really weird; hostile,” recalled Chavez.

By approximately 7 p.m. Friday, the Medical Examiner had removed the victim’s remains from their Oceanside home.

The woman’s name and official cause of death will be determined by the Medical Examiner and released at a later time.

Hengl was booked into the Vista Detention Facility on a first-degree murder charge. He’s scheduled to appear in court Tuesday.

Check back for updates on this developing story.

Contact Us