San Diego County

Man Found Dead in Barrel Floating in Marina Was Stabbed 66 Times: District Attorney

Timothy Cook, 52, is accused in the killing of Omar Medina, 28

A man whose decomposing remains were found in a barrel floating in the Chula Vista marina had been stabbed 66 times, investigators said, of the mysterious case now beginning to unravel.

The San Diego County District Attorney’s office confirmed Thursday the brutal details surrounding the slaying of Omar Medina, 28, as one of two men suspected in his killing appeared in court.

Derrick Spurgeon, 38, and Timothy Cook, 52, were arrested Wednesday in Chula Vista and El Cajon, for their alleged involvement in the death of Medina.

At his Thursday arraignment, Spurgeon was charged with accessory to murder and his bail set at $500,000. He pleaded not guilty. The DA’s office said, if convicted, Spurgeon faces a maximum of six years in prison. 

Cook was charged with one count of murder Friday and faces 87 years to life in behind bars if convicted. No bail was set.

Both suspects will next appear in court on Dec. 27. 

Medina's body was found Oct. 12 stuffed in a 55-gallon drum floating in the San Diego Bay off the Chula Vista marina.

Since then, few details have emerged as to how he was killed or why.

NBC 7's Artie Ojeda reports the latest update on an investigation into a body that was discovered within a drum in the Chula Vista Marina Thursday.

The grisly discovery was made after a diver spotted a metal barrel with a hazard tag and a wireline attached to it, floating in the water off J Street and Marina Parkway. The diver called harbor police to report the object, saying he was concerned that it could be a navigational hazard.

When police pulled the barrel to the shore and opened it, the found a body inside, so badly decomposed that the San Diego County Medical Examiner's Office said the remains could take a while to identify.

The barrel appeared to be tied down with cement blocks. Police believe a metal chain may have also weighed it down before it broke loose and surfaced at the marina. Police said there was no rust on the barrel, so it was likely in the water for only a few days before it was discovered.

NBC 7's Alex Presha reports on a body being investigated by Chula Vista Police in the South Bay marina.

Police identified Medina as the victim in late November after an autopsy was completed. The arrests would follow three weeks later.

At a news briefing Wednesday, Medina's sister talked about the struggle his family faced in the days leading up to the discovery of his body. His family hadn't seen him in nearly two weeks and had been searching for him.

"Every day that he was lost, that he was missing, my family, friends, church members and I, we prayed that we would find him," she said.

Medina's sister remembered him as a special man who would often tell her that their family was special "because there was no hate in our hearts."

"I apply this today," she added.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information on this case can reach out to the CVPD at (619) 422-TIPS.

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