‘Murder Mountain’ person of interest identified in court records - The CW San Diego - News 8

‘Murder Mountain’ person of interest identified in court records

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(Spoiler alert:  This report reveals details in the “Murder Mountain" documentary series on Netflix.)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (NEWS 8) -- Information in court records has identified a person of interest in the 2013 shooting death of Ocean Beach resident Garret Rodriguez.

The unsolved murder is getting national attention on Netflix in the six-part documentary series entitled Murder Mountain.

Rodriguez, 29, was working on a medical marijuana farm in Humboldt County in early 2013 when he suddenly went missing.

His body was discovered months later in a shallow grave near the rural town of Alderpoint in Humboldt County.

A vigilante posse of armed men allegedly shot and wounded a man and then forced him to lead the posse to where Rodriguez’s body was buried.

Multiple court records point to 30-year-old Quentin Lenig as the man who led the vigilante posse to Rodriguez’s grave in November 2013.

At that time, Lenig became a person of interest in the homicide investigation, according to court records, a 2013 Humboldt County search warrant obtained by KFMB News 8, and a 2013 news release issued by the family's private investigation firm, Cook & Associates.

The Humboldt County District Attorney has declined to file criminal charges in the case, according to a statement from the Humboldt County Sheriff.

The search warrant signed on November 29, 2013 by Humboldt County magistrate Marilyn Miles included a statement of probable cause, which named Lenig as the man who was shot by the vigilante posse.

It states that the posse of “suspects put Lenig into a truck and drove off the property.”

A portion of the search warrant remains sealed by court order because of the ongoing homicide investigation.

Lenig's ex-girlfriend – who is the mother of his 2-year old son – has an active restraining order against Lenig in San Diego as part of a custody battle in family court.

In May 2018, the ex-girlfriend filed a declaration in the case under penalty of perjury.

“Father was involved in a shooting incident in Humboldt county in November 2013 and was shot... I have seen the gunshot wounds," the declaration stated.

"I have been contacted by law enforcement multiple times asking if I have any information with regards to father's involvement in an open murder investigation,” according to the ex-girlfriend’s declaration.

Additionally, KFMB News 8 reviewed a California appeals court ruling in People v. Brown (Nov. 15, 2016), detailing the facts of a criminal conviction against a defendant named Matthew Aaron Brown.

During the associated criminal case, Brown testified seeing men “in a car with a blindfolded person who he was told was Quentin” in November 2013.

The men told Brown that they had “kidnapped Quentin to force him to show them the location of the body of someone named Garrett (sic) Rodriguez,” according to the appellate ruling.

The Rodriguez family is all too familiar with the name Quentin Lenig.

Val “Buzz” Rodriguez is Garret’s father.

“We found out Garret was shot through the mouth and it went directly through his spinal cord and he died instantly,” the father said in the Murder Mountain documentary.

The victim's father also said he was thankful the posse of armed men had found his son's body, call them vigilantes or not.

“They're heroes to me.  They're heroes to me.  I don’t care what the law says,” the father said in the documentary.

On January 4, 2018, the Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office posted a statement on Facebook about the Murder Mountain documentary and the Sheriff's ongoing investigation into the murder of Garret Rodriguez.

“Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office investigators forwarded this case to the Humboldt County District Attorney’s Office for review. The District Attorney’s Office determined that it would not file charges at that time due to the lack of evidence,” according to the Sheriff’s statement.

The statement also indicated the Sheriff’s office was having difficulty “securing witnesses to testify” in the homicide case.

The Rodriguez family recently released a response to the Humboldt Sheriff’s statement.

“Garret’s alleged murderer is still at large, and the (Humboldt County Sheriff’s Office) has not conducted this investigation in a way that is satisfying to the family of the deceased,” the family statement said.

Currently, Lenig is living in Indiana, according to family court records.

Again, he has not been charged in connection with the Rodriguez murder and the Sheriff has not named Lenig as a suspect.

His ex-girlfriend is living with their child in Southern California.

In her 2018 declaration, the ex-girlfriend claimed Lenig has repeatedly violated the court's restraining order by sending "harassing and abusive text messages" and "death threat voicemails."

The ex-girlfriend – who KFMB News 8 is not identifying because she is an alleged victim of domestic violence – recently filed a criminal complaint with the San Diego Police Department alleging violations of the restraining order by Lenig.

For his side, Lenig filed his own declaration in San Diego family court in September 2018 denying all allegations and accusing his ex-girlfriend of preventing him from seeing his son.

"Everything (mother) has said about me as a parent is a lie... Bottom line is that I am a great father who is being denied being a father by lies,” Lenig’s declaration stated.

KFMB News 8 reached out to Lenig through his attorneys in both San Diego and Knox, Indiana.

The attorneys declined to comment and Lenig did not respond to News 8’s request to interview him on camera.

The Rodriguez family has set up a GoFundMe account to help pay for the private investigator working in Humboldt County to identify witnesses and uncover evidence in the case.

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