27-year-old Tatum Goodwin was found dead “in a secluded location” over the weekend in Orange County, California, and now police are asking the public for help solving her mysterious murder.
“We are saddened by this senseless act of violence,” said Laguna Beach Police Chief Jeff Calvert Press release. “Our investigators are working diligently to bring the suspects to justice.”
On Sunday, the young woman’s body was discovered by a construction worker in an alley near a cinema and the restaurant where she had worked for several years.
“She was just such a loving, honest person,” said Aleena Macintosh, a friend of the deceased The CW West Coast flagship KTLA. “You just wouldn’t think anything would happen to her.”
Laguna Beach is approximately 50 miles southwest of Los Angeles.
Another friend told the television station that Goodwin was from San Clemente, a beach town about 20 miles down the coast. It seemed she had made a new life for herself as an assistant manager at Carmelita’s, a Mexican restaurant on Broadway in the small downtown area of the small coastal town.
Marcos Heredia, the restaurant’s owner, said the victim was severely beaten. The crime scene was described by police as “suspicious.”
“For me, it wasn’t just about losing a friend. It’s clearly about almost losing a family member,” Heredia told KTLA. “I knew she always had my back, and I always had her back, even when she needed something.”
While law enforcement remained largely silent about the details of the shocking incident that claimed Goodwin’s life, several people reportedly told KTLA about the last night they saw their friend.
According to reports, the young woman went to Hennessey’s Tavern, also located downtown, after work on Saturday evening. A walk of less than five minutes separates both companies.
After that, however, the public information about the whereabouts of the beloved woman ends. Probably only her murderer ever saw Goodwin alive again.
“Of all the empty seats I sat in tonight, I chose this one,” Goodwin’s friend Madison Moyer wrote in an Instagram Story captioning a picture of a bar. “The bartender came over and said last night I sat here. I see your signs everywhere, I see you moving with me and through me.”
Heredia is organizing a GoFundMe to build a permanent memorial to the victim downtown — and to help her family with funeral costs.
“Tatum was a very hard-working young lady and always had a smile on her face,” the fundraiser said. “Over the years, she had expressed her excitement to be in Laguna and to have her opportunity with us. We felt like we really had a family member here with us. I am seeking help in establishing a memorial in the City of Laguna Beach for our team and family member. We are still in disbelief and don’t want her to be forgotten. We are trying to raise funds for her memorial services and also help establish a memorial in the city so that everyone in the city never forgets our dear friend Tatum.”
The general public is shocked by the rare murder in the tiny coastal enclave in Southern California known for its art scene and beaches.
“Any crime that involves a victim affects all of us, whether it was a fatal traffic accident or a murder,” Lt. Cornelius Ashton Los Angeles Times. “Our community is our family, and we hurt, we suffer for these members, these victims. We want their families to receive justice and we want to bring them the peace we can, and that is why we are putting our hearts into our investigation.”
According to the Times, the small town is reportedly concerned that Goodwin’s killer is still at large.
A vigil is planned for Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the end of the San Clemente Pier.
“We always wanted people to feel loved and comfortable on their bad and worst days,” Moyer wrote in another caption on Instagram.
Laguna Beach Police have asked anyone with information about the tragic incident to contact Detective Tanner Flagstad at (949) 497-0369 or via email [email protected].
Do you have a tip we should know? [email protected]