SANTA MONICA—On Tuesday, January 13, a Ventura County man was arrested and charged for the murder of a man whose remains were discovered in the Santa Monica Mountains in October 2022.  

On Saturday, July 30, 2022, the victim – identified as Jose Velasquez, 35 – was reported missing from the city of Camarillo. Velazquez’s family reported that he disappeared on July 28, after a night of enjoying drinks with his friends near Janns Marketplace in Thousand Oaks. 

On August 1, investigators from the Ventura Sheriff’s Major Crimes Bureau discovered Velasquez’s work van, a white Ram Promaster 2500 High Roof, about four miles from the shopping mall, in the 1600 block of Rancho Conejo Boulevard. They suspected foul play was involved as nothing was stolen from the van. “This is unlike Jose to disappear without notice,” his family said in a GoFundMe post. 

On October 1, 2022, Velasquez’s body was discovered by hikers in the Santa Monica Mountains, near Mulholland Highway. He died from multiple gunshot wounds, according to the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner’s Office. 

On Tuesday, January 13, 2023, the suspect – identified as Camarillo resident Rotherie Durell Foster, 37, was arrested and charged for the murder of Velasquez. Evidence was uncovered that linked Foster to Velasquez’s murder, the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office released. 

Foster was the victim’s work acquaintance. Authorities believe Foster murdered Velazquez for financial gain. 

Velazquez moved to Simi Valley from Honduras back in 2016 and worked as a plumber. By 2021, he obtained his contractor’s license and moved to Camarillo.

Jose Velasquez

“Jose was an incredibly hard worker who was starting his own plumbing business when his life was viciously and cruelly cut short,” said Ventura County District Attorney Erik Nasarenko. “The charges filed today are among the most violent and serious we see in the courthouse, and are a result of the strong teamwork between the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office and our prosecutors.”

Foster is currently in custody at the Ventura County Jail. His bail was set at $2,000,000. His arraignment hearing was scheduled for Wednesday, January 18. 

Anyone with information regarding the investigation is asked to call Ventura County Sheriff’s Sergeant Albert Ramirez at (805) 384-4761.