Two days before Tomoko Hoetzlein’s body was found in a dumpster outside the Camarillo apartment she shared with her son, David Hoetzlein, she refused to press charges against him after saying that he stole her car and beat her up, instead asking police to place the 25-year-old on mental health hold, according to the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office.
Law code 5150 allows a person to be involuntarily detained for a 72 hour psychiatric hospitalization if, as a result of a mental disorder, they are a danger to themselves, a danger to others, or severely disabled.
sergeant. William Hutton of the Sheriff’s Major Crimes Office told the Glans that MPs assessed David Hoetzlein on June 1 and determined that he did not meet the criteria for a 5150 commitment.
“Just because a mental health assessment is requested does not mean that a mental health suspension will be placed if the criteria are not met,” the sergeant said.
And because her mother refused to press charges, Hutton said, “the deputies’ hands were tied for making an arrest.”
“We encouraged her to press charges against him for the theft of her vehicle and for the battery, but she insisted she didn’t want a lawsuit,” he said.
Police say David Hoetzlein later killed Tomoko Hoetzlein, 62, before dismembering her body and throwing it in the dumpster.
His remains were discovered shortly before 7 a.m. on June 3. David Hoetzlein was arrested the same day.
Court documents submitted by public defender Claudia Bautista indicate that David Hoetzlein has a history of mental illness.
“While the offense charged is serious, the defense asks the court to consider the mental health circumstances that were present at the time of Mr. Hoetzlein’s arrest in considering his detention,” the June 20 document states.
Prior to his arrest, Hoetzlein had recently been released from Vista del Mar Hospital, an acute mental institution in Ventura where he was treated, according to court records. He took and is currently taking psychiatric medication, records show.
Hutton told the Glans if there was a history of mental health, MPs would have had access to that information at the time of the June 1 mental health assessment.
Hutton also said he could not reveal if a mental health suspension had ever been placed on Hoetzlein.
After the June 1 incident, a Camarillo Police Department patrol supervisor encouraged Tomoko Hoetzlein to press charges against her son, Hutton said. She was told that if she filed a complaint, he would receive mental health treatment in a prison facility, but she again refused.
A deputy and a social worker attempted to contact David Hoetzlein at the Las Positas apartments on June 2, Hutton said, but he was not home or did not answer the door.
Prosecutors said David Hoetzlein committed the homicide between the night of June 1 and the afternoon of June 2.
According to court records, David Hoetzlein beat Tomoko Hoetzlein on June 2 after they argued over a credit card balance he owed.
He admitted to choking his mother from behind, then panicking after she lost consciousness, according to court records.
“The defendant wrapped his arm around the victim’s neck from behind and strangled her life,” prosecutors wrote. “Instead of calling for help or seeking medical attention for the victim, he methodically and painstakingly cut his mother’s body into pieces, then threw her in a public trash can.”
If it hadn’t been for the Memorial Day delay in garbage removal services, according to court records, the remains would have been recovered before being discovered on June 3.
According to court records, CCTV provided to police by neighbors shows David Hoetzlein carrying trash bags, matching those found in the dumpster, from his apartment.
Police also found evidence that Hoetzlein dismembered his mother inside their apartment, according to court records.
Less than a day after the homicide, David Hoetzlein listed some of his mother’s items for sale on Facebook Marketplace, including her cell phone and sunglasses, according to court documents.
Hoetzlein is being held at the Ventura County Main Jail. Although his bail was originally set at $3 million, it was revoked.
His arraignment was continued for a second time and he is now expected to plead on July 28.
If convicted of murder, he faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in prison.