A Northern California man was charged Wednesday in the slaying of his missing co-worker after police investigators linked him to a bloody crime scene containing a severed ear.
Steve Hlebo, 39, briefly appeared in a San Jose courtroom to answer for a murder charge in Kyle Myrick's disappearance Friday and presumed death, the San Jose Mercury News reported.
A police statement released by the Santa Clara District Attorney's Office shows Hlebo told detectives he and Myrick, 28, got into a fight while working on all-terrain vehicles. The court documents also show Hlebo told a relative that he killed Myrick and dumped the body in the ocean.
When the motorcycle shop where both men worked closed Friday, two employees went into a small storage room and found a "great deal" of fresh blood on the walls and called authorities. Officers also found blood stains suggesting that someone had been dragged to the place where Hlebo's truck had been parked, police said.
Hlebo denied the charges in interviews with local reporters, saying someone at work spiked his coffee with drugs and is trying to frame him.
"I feel I'm being framed here," he said. "And I know that sounds so cliche, but there's a lot that's going on behind the scenes here."
Family and friends searched for Myrick's body in the area surrounding the motorcycle shop and parts of the Santa Cruz Mountains believed to be familiar to Hlebo. They asked for volunteers to join them as they continue their search.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.