Man charged in 'gruesome' deaths of wife, in-laws after torso found in Southern California

ByRob Hayes KABC logo
Tuesday, November 14, 2023
Son of ex-celebrity agent ID'd as suspect in Encino torso discovery
Samuel Haskell, 35, was arrested after a woman's torso was found near a dumpster in Encino. Though investigators have not identified the person, they say it may be his wife who's currently missing.

LOS ANGELES -- The man who was arrested after an unidentified woman's torso was found in Southern California has been charged with murder in the deaths of his wife and her parents.

Samuel Haskell IV, 35, has been charged with three counts of murder in the deaths of his wife, Mei Li Haskell, 37, and her parents, Gaoshan Li, 72, and Yanxiang Wang, 64. The special circumstance of multiple murders is also alleged.

The video in the player above is from a previous report.

This comes after the wife and her parents were reported missing.

"These shocking and gruesome crimes have sent shockwaves through our community," said Los Angeles County District Attorney George Gascón on Monday. "We stand with the victims' loved ones during this unimaginably difficult time and will do everything in our power to ensure justice is served. Our Major Crimes Division will work tirelessly to bring about a prosecution that reflects the severity of this devastating crime."

A judge continued the 35-year-old's arraignment to Dec. 8.

Haskell is the son of Sam Haskell III, who resigned as CEO of the Miss America organization after a 2017 email scandal. The elder Haskell was once a celebrity agent and founded Magnolia Hill Productions, which has produced various Dolly Parton specials.

The district attorney's office said the victims, who lived with Haskell and the couple's three young children in Tarzana, were last seen on or about Nov. 6.

On Nov. 7, Haskell allegedly hired four day laborers to take away several heavy black plastic trash bags from the Tarzana home, the district attorney's office said.

"One of the laborers opened one of the bags and allegedly observed human body parts. They called 911 and reported the incident," read a statement.

That same day, Haskell was allegedly spotted and photographed throwing away a large trash bag into a dumpster in Encino. The discovery was made the following day.

If convicted as charged, Haskell will face a maximum sentence of life without the possibility of parole.