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City of Malibu "disappointed" With "confusing and contradictory" Info Released About Restaurant Worker's Death

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In response to the confusion stemming from the death of a restaurant employee found dead outside his place of work in Malibu last weekend, the City of Malibu has issued a statement about the case, and their disappointment with the "confusing and contradictory messages given to the media and public about this tragedy."Carlos Ivan Rodas' body was discovered in a pool of blood outside of Guido's Malibu Sunday night, and initial reports first indicated the dishwasher had been confronted by a group of unidentified suspects. The earliest story from the scene was that Rodas was the victim of a shooting. Correcting that story, authorities then said Rodas had endured a brutal beating.

Wednesday, to the dismay of the Los Angeles County Coroner's office, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department issued a statement indicating Rodas had died from neither a shooting or a beating, but instead of an upper respiratory disease. The LASD also announced "it appears there was no criminal conduct related to [Rodas'] death."

However, the Coroner has not issued a ruling on Rodas' cause of death.

In what seems to hint at shades of the kind of bad communication between agencies referenced recently by an outside agency's review of the Mitrice Richardson case--which also involved law enforcement with the Sheriff's Department in Malibu and the L.A. County Coroner's office--the City of Malibu and their mayor, Laura Rosenthal, are frustrated about the unraveling of the Rodas case.

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The following is the full statement, as published today by Malibu Patch:

Over the last few days, the City has been in constant communication with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department regarding the tragic death of an employee at a local restaurant. In order to provide clear information and to help alleviate several conflicting reports surrounding the cause of death, the Sheriff’s Department issued a statement that the death appears to be respiratory in nature, but no other specifics have been given. In the interest of public safety, as well as the need to provide the community with information and the pressure to release information, the Sheriff’s Department provided preliminary assessments based upon witness accounts and the appearance of the scene. Initial assessments by medical, fire and law enforcement personnel led to the belief that a violent crime may have taken place. As in many investigations, until all of the evidence has been verified, the cause of death may be modified. As always, the first concern was for public safety in the actual event this was determined to be a homicide.

The City is disappointed by the confusing and contradictory messages given to the media and public about this tragedy. The City’s goal is to get the most accurate and up to date information before disseminating it to the community. Public safety and public health are the City’s most important issues and the City is working hard to get the correct facts regarding this incident to allay any fears that may have arisen. The Sheriff’s Department and County Coroner are working diligently to determine the exact cause of death. The City will continue to collaborate closely with the Sheriff’s Department on communication to the public until the final medical report is issued that will separate the facts from fiction in this very confusing, yet tragic, case.

Malibu Mayor Laura Rosenthal added, “The City extends our heartfelt condolences to Mr. Rodas’ family and friends during this very difficult time. A young man has died, no matter the circumstances, and we wish to respect the pain and suffering of his loved ones at this time. I will be working to get as much information as possible about this tragedy and make sure that our residents and community are safe.”

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