A 23-year-old man from La Puente, Calif., was killed in Malibu Saturday night, June 22, after what sheriff’s officials described as a “dispute” became violent. The alleged murder took place in the parking lot of Neptune’s Net, where a group of car enthusiasts had gathered after the restaurant closed.
The victim was later identified as Omar Payeras, whose cause of death was recorded as “sharp force injuries of the neck and head—homicide,” according to Ventura County Medical Examiner forensic pathology technician Jenelle Payne.
A press release shared Sunday morning described the events that led up to Payeras’ death and named his suspected murderer: 30-year-old Ontario, Calif., man Daniel Maldonado.
“While at the location, Daniel Maldonado became involved in a dispute with a 23-year-old male [Payeras] over a previously unresolved issue,” press information from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office stated. “The incident escalated into a physical fight, during which Maldonado used a knife to stab the victim several times.”
Law enforcement from Ventura County as well as California State Parks responded to a 911 call that came in shortly before 11 p.m. Saturday, but Payeras could not be resuscitated and was declared dead on scene.
Maldonado was arrested for one felony count of murder and was booked on $500,000 bail. He appeared in Ventura County Superior Court on June 25, 2019.
A memorial for Payeras was held at Neptune’s Net on Sunday evening, June 23, according to KBUU News. Mourners brought votive candles and flowers to place at the site of his murder.
One man who appeared at the memorial described Payeras as a father of two with a big heart.
“He was just a big guy, a big heart, you know,” the man told a KBUU reporter. “A very respectable guy—a father, you know; he left the two girls behind, unfortunately.”
Payeras’ family has set up an online fundraiser for expenses following his death: gofundme.com/f/daniel-payeras. Mourners who posted messages on the site described Payeras as “one-of-a-kind,” a “friend and brother to many,” who was “gone too soon.” Just over two-thirds of the $15,000 fundraising goal had been reached as of Tuesday afternoon, June 25.
Anyone with information about this incident is asked to contact Sergeant Steve Jenkins at 805.384.4727.