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Homebuyer Finds Body Of Murdered Man In His New House

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The Simi Valley home in question, and Mary Karacas. (Images courtesy of Google Street View and the Simi Valley Police Department)
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Homebuyers are often met with unfortunate surprises—termites, leaking pipes, crumbling foundations—but the corpse of the murdered former owner? That's a new one, at least in sleepy Simi Valley.

After having paid $430,000 on Anastasia Street in Simi Valley, the new homeowner was "eager to move in," according to the L.A. Times, when he arrived on Sunday afternoon to check up on the previous owners' progress in vacating. Finding it unusual that no one was answering the door, the home's new owner ultimately entered through an unlocked door.

The Times reports that the unidentified buyer then walked through an open door into one of residence's three bedrooms, where he came across the partially covered and "obviously deceased" body of 84-year-old Salvatore Orefice. According to Cmdr. Roy Jones of the Simi Valley Police Department, Orefice had occupied the home, which was foreclosed upon in late 2015, with his longterm girlfriend Mary Karacas. The home's new owner alerted police, who arrived on the scene and then called Karacas. In a subsequent interview, the 75-year-old woman told police that she had shot Orefice after an argument. She has since been booked on murder charges

The white-collar town, which Jones characterizes as "a very quiet, suburban community," is often ranked as one of America's safest large cities (as of 2013, it was the 7th safest city in the nation according to the FBI, a slight fall from its 1999 ranking as the safest in the nation).

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According to Jones, Simi Valley Police hadn't responded to any previous domestic violence incidents involving Orefice and Karacas, who were both longtime Simi Valley residents. "Our contacts with both parties have been limited to nothing more than traffic violations," Jones told LAist.

"Murder is very rare in Simi Valley," Jones told LAist, adding that Orefice's death was the first murder of 2016 in the city, "and hopefully the last."

"You're more likely to be involved in a traffic accident which causes serious injury or death in our city than you are a homicide," Jones said.