A woman was on a Zoom call with a colleague when the attack occurred, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said.

By Beverly White 

A kidnapping witnessed on a Zoom call is how investigators learned about a crime spree in Altadena, and it ended with the discovery of two homicide victims, along with a man detained by Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. 

The crime scene in the 3100 block of North Marengo Avenue is obscured by trees that hide a home where two slain victims were discovered after someone on a video call with a resident reported seeing violence in the background.

“The person on the Zoom call is the one that called 911… stating they saw what they believed was a kidnapping,” Lt. Barry Hall of the sheriff’s Homicide Division says.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department officers at the scene of a stabbing in Altadena, March 22, 2021.

While their names have not been released, sheriff’s Lt. Barry Hall told NBC Los Angeles that both victims are in their 60s.

“During the investigation, detectives learned that the female victim was conducting a Zoom call with a colleague, when the attack on the male occurred,” the sheriff’s department said in the release. “The Zoom caller witnessed the attack on both the male and female and called 911 to report the crime.”

The LA Sheriff’s Office says investigators discovered a car was missing from the residence and, during the investigation, a man drove up in the victim’s car and walked to the edge of the crime scene. He identified himself as a resident of the home, authorities said.

Authorities ordered the man, later identified as 32-year-old Robert Cotton, to his knees, put him in handcuffs, and took him away, according to Hall.

Hall says investigators are “probably” not searching for anyone else, but it’s still early in the investigation.

It was unclear what Cotton’s relationship was to the victims.

Altadena is a neighborhood about 15 miles north of downtown Los Angeles.




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