Voice mail message warns of impending murder
October 8, 2012
By KAREN VELIE
A mentally ill man who allegedly murdered his neighbor in San Luis Obispo had told a friend, police and his landlord of his aggravation over a missing cell phone prior to the forewarned assault, several inside sources told CalCoastNews.
Edmund Nungaray, 59, is suspected of choking Deirdre Crowley, 46, to unconsciousness. She died Friday after being taken off life support.
Shortly after midnight on Sept. 30, officers responding to calls of a disturbance at the Bullock Garden Apartment complex discovered Nungaray near the open door of the victim’s apartment.
Before the assault, Nungaray had called the San Luis Obispo Police Department to report that his neighbor had his phone and was refusing to return it. Then, at about 9 p.m. on Sept. 30, he left a voice message for his landlord asking for help.
However, the office was closed and the message was not retrieved until after Nungaray allegedly assaulted Crowley.
In the message, Nungaray introduces himself as a tenant and says that Crowley has stolen his phone. Nungaray had already called police who conducted an unsuccessful search of Crowley’s apartment, he said.
He then asks his landlord to evict Crowley and warns if they do not, he will throw her down the stairs.
In another forewarning of the lethal assault, shortly before he entered Crowley’s apartment, Nungaray told another neighbor that he was going to attack Crowley if she did not return his phone.
On Sept. 30, police charged Nungaray with attempted murder and booked him into the San Luis Obispo County Jail with bail set at $500,000. In light of Crowley’s death, it is likely Nungaray will be charged with murder.
Nungaray is the seventh mentally ill person to be suspected or accused of killing in the past 21 months in San Luis Obispo County. Eight people have lost their lives.
On Christmas night 2010, Andrew Downs, a diagnosed schizophrenic, allegedly shot and killed two sisters he did not know in Santa Margarita. During his arrest, Downs told officers he needed to go to a mental hospital to get his medicine, which he had run out of three days earlier.
In March 2011, a psychotic man, John Woody, stabbed a stranger 22 times in a Paso Robles laundromat killing him.
Six months later, Christopher Shumey, a San Luis Obispo man with a history of mental health problems, allegedly shot and killed his mother at his apartment on the corner of Beach and Buchon streets.
In April 2012, Paso Robles police arrested Sunni Jackson, a diagnosed schizophrenic who had not been taking her medicine, in connection with the killing her 61-year-old mother Earlene Grove during an argument.
In May 2012, two weeks after Michael Van Heuver allegedly assaulted his mother at her home in Los Osos, she died from her injuries
Shortly before her son allegedly strangled her, Lisa Van Heuver sent an email to San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors detailing problems her son had with drug use and mental health issues. She asked the supervisors to support local programs that assist those addicted to drugs and mentally ill.
In late August 2012, Brandon Henslee, 22, was accused of killing his younger brother and placing the body in a trash can at their home in Cambria. A year earlier, Henslee attempted to get help for his mental illness, but was arrested after making a comment a nurse at the county mental health facility took as a threat.
Several of the victim’s and murder suspect’s families say the county’s failure to provide adequate mental health services has led to the increase in San Luis Obispo County homicides.