Garden Grove man, stabbed to death, had told family he was ‘afraid’ of neighbor

 In blog, Crime News: Los Angeles Daily News

Garden Grove man, stabbed to death, had told family he was ‘afraid’ of neighbor

by Roxana Kopetman

Helmuth Hauprich didn’t feel comfortable with his new next-door neighbor, Zachary Castaneda. He thought Castaneda, covered in tattoos and prone to staring him down, was just bad news.

“My father-in-law said he looked dangerous. He was afraid of him,” said Irvine resident Eddie Nawabi.

On Friday, prosecutors charged Castaneda, 33, with four counts of murder and other crimes committed during a two-hour stabbing and robbery spree Wednesday afternoon in Garden Grove and Santa Ana.

Hauprich, 62, and his roommate Gerardo Fresnares Beltran, 63, were stabbed to death. When he was arrested, Nawabi said, Castaneda was wearing Hauprich’s sweatshirt.

The violent binge started in Hauprich’s apartment.

Hauprich arrived home Wednesday afternoon from his job assembling tires at Wheel Pros in Buena Park to find his apartment ransacked.  Practically everything was gone.

The thief had walked off with his documents, his clothes, his television, even his furniture.

“His dining table was stolen,” Nawabi said. “He took pretty much everything but the bed and the couch, and even there, he took a piece of the couch.”

Hauprich was upset and called his daughter, Antonella Hauprich and her husband, Nawabi, as they were driving back from a trip to Las Vegas.

“He was sad. Poor guy. He didn’t have much anyway,” Nawabi said.

“My wife told him to call the police. He said, ‘I already called and they haven’t shown up.’”

The call to police came at 4:09 pm. He then called his daughter at 4:44, Nawabi said.

According to police, Castaneda – a known gang member with a lengthy criminal record – left Hauprich’s apartment and headed to a bakery, where he walked off with a cash register and scared the owner, Donaji Beltran, who walked in on him as he was robbing her. (She’s not related to Gerardo Fresnares Beltran.)

Hauprich’s daughter tried him again around 5:15 p.m. She was worried.

“He never picked up his phone again,” Nawabi said.

A memorial to Helmuth Hauprich at the Casa De Portola apartments in Garden Grove on Friday, Aug. 9, 2019. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

By 5:04 pm, police got a call of two men stabbed at 12162 Jentges Avenue in Garden Grove. That’s the apartment complex where Hauprich has lived for some 20 years, more recently with his roommate sharing the expenses.

Nawabi said his family is angry with Garden Grove police for not responding more quickly to the robbery call.

“If they had shown up just 10 or 15 minutes earlier, he would still be alive,” Nawabi said.

Garden Grove Lt. Carl Whitney said officers respond to calls with the highest priority first. The robbery call at Hauprich’s apartment, where there was no suspect at the time, became a lower priority call as officers responded to the bakery call, where the owner reported the robber had a gun, and an unrelated call about a carjacking.

“Our condolences go out to the family. I understand they are grieving. But I think our officers did an amazing job of catching him and taking him into custody,” Whitney said.

Police arrested Castaneda after calls of a robbery at the Cash & More business on  Chapman Avenue, a stabbing at an insurance company on Harbor Boulevard, and another robbery and stabbing at a Chevron Gas Sation about half a mile away, also on Harbor Boulevard.

Meanwhile, Santa Ana police responded to a stabbing at a Subway Restaurant at 3835 W. First Street; and while officers were arresting Castaneda, customers inside a nearby 7-11 store ran out to say a security guard inside the convenience store had been stabbed.

In all, four people were stabbed to death, and two others injured. Authorities said they did not know what led to the rampage.

An immigrant from Romania, Hauprich is survived by his wife, Dorina, their daughter, Antonella, and their son, Erwin. The family has set up a GoFundMe page to help with funeral arrangements.

Hauprich was “an amazing person,” his son-in-law said.

“He was very humble, very peaceful, a quiet hardworking person,” he said. “I’m so sad he’s taken this way. The family is just heartbroken.”

All credit goes to Roxana Kopetman
Originally published on

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