PASADENA, Calif. -- A 56-year-old man was charged with murder Tuesday in the death of a person whose remains were found burned in the parking lot of a Cypress Park Home Depot, officials said.
Valentino Gutierrez, of Pasadena, was charged with one count of murder and one count of arson of property.
Investigators said Gutierrez is suspected of committing the murder around Jan. 30 at a Pasadena restaurant near California Boulevard and Arroyo Parkway that had been shuttered and abandoned for some time.
According to police, Gutierrez dismembered the body at the restaurant.
"To dismember an individual like that is pretty grotesque and it takes an awful lot of effort and determination by an individual, which is pretty cold," said William Hayes, an investigator on the case.
On or around Feb. 1 in the early morning hours, Gutierrez got on a Gold Line Metro train in Pasadena with a bicycle and a suitcase investigators said contained the remains of the victim, who police believe to have been female. Investigators said Gutierrez got off the train at the Lincoln/Cypress Station and rode his bike to the Home Depot parking lot on Figueroa Street at Avenue 22.
Once at the Home Depot, investigators said Gutierrez lit the suitcase on fire and left.
Detectives believe Gutierrez knew the victim, but a motive in the crime has not yet been determined. Police and the coroner's office are still attempting to positively identify the victim, but they believe the woman to be 31-year-old Tiana Alfred, the wife of the suspect.
"We've convinced that that is who the individual is, but the coroner has to do some extensive work to identify the individual based on the condition of the remains," Hayes said.
Eyewitness News also learned that it may be a while before the body can be positively identified because the head and genitals are missing.
Police believe both the victim and the suspect were homeless and residing in a shelter on Raymond Avenue in Pasadena.
Investigators called Gutierrez a "career criminal" with a "very significant criminal history." Gutierrez has convictions for burglary, sexual battery, domestic violence, robbery, possession of a deadly weapon, narcotics and negligent discharge of a firearm.
Deputy Chief Justin Eisenberg said investigators are still looking into the motive for the murder. The LAPD said it was a targeted crime.
Gutierrez was arraigned in Pasadena Superior Court Tuesday. His bail was set at more than $2 million.
Police said the investigation is ongoing and remains active. If anyone has information pertaining to the case, they are urged to call the LAPD's Robbery Homicide Division.
Police: Man dismembered body at Pasadena restaurant, took Metro, then burned remains