A terrible and heinous act of violence was perpetrated by an immigrant couple in Hanford, California against a 70-year-old Vietnam War veteran. The couple violently tortured veteran Kenneth Coyle for his financial information before killing him and burning his body in front of their children.
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Coyle was a retired contractor for Naval Air Station Lemoore who first met Stacie Mendoza at a restaurant in Hanford where she worked as a waitress. Coyle and Mendoza became friends but little did Coyle know her motivation for the friendship was to gain access to his financial information. Hanford Police Captain Karl Anderson said, "We think she manipulated that relationship to gain his trust and defraud him of money. As this relationship grew, we know that Ms. Mendoza started getting access to his bank account information and started getting money from him." It was on April 5 that Mendoza and her husband Jose went to Coyle's home and tortured him for his money.
"They restrained him on a bed and beat him to get access to his bank account information, passwords, and other account information," Anderson said. After he was tortured, Coyle died of "blunt force trauma and suffocation." A few days after his death, the Mendozas drove Coyle's body to nearby Madera County and burned him in front of their children. "We know the children were taken to where the body was burned and watched the body burn," Anderson said.
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Torturing and killing Coyle wasn't enough for the Mendoza's. They returned to his home to steal anything that wasn't bolted down but they were spotted by property management employees. The couple told the employees that Coyle was injured and recovering in a care home but they weren't buying it. The employees reported the suspicious story to the police who tracked Coyle's cell phone to the Mendoza's home.
Police arrested the Mendoza family at a Denny's near Los Angeles International Airport. Jose Mendoza had Coyle's credit card and a plane ticket back to his home country El Salvador when he was arrested. The couple is being held without bail and their children have been placed in the custody of Child Protective Services.
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