COVINA, Calif. – The ex-husband of one of the nine people killed at a Christmas Eve party has received demands from a landlord to pay the dead woman's rent.
Broadcrest Foothill Apartment Homes claims Alicia Ortiz broke her lease on an Upland apartment when she and her 17-year-old son were killed by her sister's disgruntled ex-husband. The landlord informed her former husband, Carlos Ortiz, on an invoice dated Jan. 29 that she gave "insufficient notice to vacate." The company says it is owed $2,821 in rent and penalties.
"I'm dealing with my son's death and the death of my ex-wife and then they want to put up these kind of roadblocks," Carlos Ortiz told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune on Wednesday. "I just don't understand it."
The manager of the property, Candyse Wardlow, refused to comment. Messages left at the company's office were not returned.
Alicia Ortiz, her son Michael and seven other relatives were killed by Bruce Pardo when he barged into his ex-in-laws' Covina home during a holiday party Dec. 24 dressed as Santa Claus and opened fire. After a shooting rampage that claimed his ex-wife's life, he burned the house and killed himself.
Alicia Ortiz's two surviving daughters moved in with their father in Ontario and within three weeks had to move their belongings out of their mother's apartment, said attorney Scott Nord, who represents surviving victims and their family members.
Nord said the apartment management company called Carlos Ortiz soon after the shooting to say that Alicia Ortiz didn't pay the rent, then it followed up with a three-day notice to pay up or leave.
"This is just low," Nord said.
"So we had to get them out by Jan. 13, despite the fact that everything else was going on, dealing with the coroner, all these horrible things."
Carlos Ortiz added, "Everything's been like a whirlwind since Christmas. It's sad. We had to fight them for two weeks just to get the stuff out. We thought that was the end of it."