32 year old Cristina Noelle Canimo was arrested at 3 am on Friday, November 22nd. hours after a body had been discovered in a trash can on Thursday morning.
Canimo appeared before Riverside County Superior Court Judge Harold Hopp yesterday. She did not enter a plea for the charges against her, and was ordered to be held until her next hearing which is scheduled for December 9th. Canimo has no criminal record beyond a speeding ticket that she received back in 2006.
Canimo is being held at the Smith Correctional Facility in Banning on a charge of murder with malice and a special circumstance charge of torture. If the District Attorney's office decided to pursue the special circumstance charge of torture, Canimo would be eligible for the death penalty.
It is alleged that a knife, box cutter, screwdriver and hammer were involved in the death giving rise to the special circumstance charge of torture.
Thursday morning, just after 11 am, police responded to a gated La Quinta, California neighborhood where a body, identified only as "Ronald C." in court documents, was discovered inside of a trash bin.
"It just seems like somebody might have dropped it off and hoped that on Friday, when trash day comes around, nobody would see it," KESQ quoted Joey Cho, a resident of the community as saying.
Neighbors within the community state that the residence where the body was discovered is a licensed residential care facility for the elderly.
In an unannounced inspection conducted on September 5th of this year, the facility was found to be in compliance and no citations were issued. Several days later though, in response to a complaint that had been filed, inspectors returned and issued several citations to the facility for staff neglect and failing to seek timely medical care. A third inspection was conducted on the 22nd in relation to the death of a resident where it was stated that the files for that resident had already been transferred to the custody of law enforcement.
As the investigation continues, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said anyone with information or video regarding the incident can contact Central Homicide Investigator Vasquez at (760) 393-3529 or (951) 955-2777.