Garden Grove man killed in midst of stabbing rampage lived a quiet life of hard work

 In blog, Crime News: Los Angeles Daily News

Garden Grove man killed in midst of stabbing rampage lived a quiet life of hard work

by Sean Emery

Gerardo Fresnares Beltran’s quiet life of hard work ended in an apparent random flash of violence, as police say he and a roommate were stabbed to death by a man accused of carrying out a murder and robbery spree.

For a man who kept to himself when not working diligently to support his wife and sons in Mexico, the death of Beltran, 63, came as a shock, his cousin, Alex Hernandez, said.

A long-time dishwasher at an Anaheim hotel who was still working several days a week after his retirement while studying to become a United States citizen, Beltran spent much of his life living alone and sending money to support his wife and put his adult sons through college in Mexico, his cousin said.

“I was really surprised because I didn’t think it would happen to this poor guy,” Hernandez said. “He was in the wrong place at the wrong day.”

Beltran lived for a time at Hernandez’s Garden Grove home, until a remodel of the residence forced him to move out. Prior to his retirement, Hernandez said, Beltran would work six or seven days a week, getting all the overtime he could. Then, he would ride his bike home and relax by watching television and listening to the radio.

“He was kind of quiet, didn’t talk too much,” Hernandez said. “He would say hi, and then go to his bedroom.”

At least once a year, usually at Christmas, Beltran would travel to Mexico to visit his wife and children, gathering gifts for his loved ones together before he made the trip, Hernandez recalled.

Otherwise, Beltran would keep to himself, never going out to bars or looking for trouble, the cousin said. Hernandez recalled that even when the cousin threw family parties at his own home, Beltran would have to be persuaded to take some food before going back to his own room.

Beltran’s apartment roommate, 62-year-old Helmuth Hauprich, had told family members that he didn’t feel comfortable with his new next-door-neighbor, Zachary Castaneda, describing him as covered in tattoos and prone to staring him down.

Police allege that Castaneda’s violent binge began at Hauprich and Beltran’s apartment, first with a ransacking, then, hours later, with the slayings. Castaneda is facing special circumstances murder, among other charges, in connection to four killings in Garden Grove and Santa Ana.

Hernandez said Beltran had hoped to eventually bring his immediate family to the United States.

“He was waiting to become an American citizen,” he said.

All credit goes to Sean Emery
Originally published on

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