The man charged on Tuesday with the stabbing deaths four homeless men in Orange County over the last month, Itzcoatl Ocampo, has a personal connection to the area’s group of homeless: his father lives among them.
But Ocampo also is a Iraq war vet suffering from combat trauma:
After a 2008 tour of duty in Iraq, Itzcoatl became traumatized and depressed, family members said, presenting another challenge to a family in crisis. “He changed — everyone comes back changed,” Mixcoatl said. “Not everyone is the same. My brother is different.”
Itzcoatl Ocampo’s uncle Raul Gonzalez said that at a Christmas party last month at the family’s house, Itzcoatl was listless, barely taking part in the celebration and speaking little.
“He was sleeping on the couch when friends and family start to eat,” Mr. Gonzalez said.
After he returned from Iraq, Mr. Ocampo remained with the Marines until he was honorably discharged in 2010. Severe depression did not seem to set in until after his discharge, which was followed by the death of Claudio Patino IV, a close childhood friend with whom Mr. Ocampo had enlisted in the Marines. Mr. Patino was killed in combat in Afghanistan in June 2010.
“He was trying to come back to civilian life, getting adjusted. But once his friend passed away, though, that traumatized him,” Mixcoatl Ocampo said. “He felt very depressed. He got severe headaches. He felt lonely.”
Itzcoatl Ocampo moved in with his uncle, mother, brother and sister at the small ranch house in Yorba Linda. He planned to return to school at nearby Santa Ana College, even filing the paperwork to get money from the G.I. Bill to help pay for it. But he never attended classes.
Instead, he would visit Mr. Patino’s grave several times a week. He also went to the Veterans Services Office in Santa Ana in search of medical help, though his brother did not know details of those visits. The office did not return phone calls Monday.