LOS ANGELES (KTLA) — A California man accused of tossing dismembered body parts into a dumpster has been charged following the disappearance of his wife and her live-in parents.
Samuel Bond Haskell IV, 35, was formally charged with three counts of murder in connection with the death of his wife and her parents in Tarzana, the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office announced Monday.
On Nov. 7, Haskell allegedly hired four day-laborers to haul off several heavy black plastic trash bags from the home he shared with his wife, 37-year-old Mei Haskell, her elderly parents and the couple’s three young children, according to authorities.
“One of the laborers opened one of the bags and allegedly observed human body parts,” according to a news release from the district attorney’s office. “They called 911 and reported the incident.”
That same day, he was reportedly seen and photographed approximately 5 miles from his home disposing a large trash bag into a dumpster off in Encino.
On Nov. 8, a man looking through that dumpster found a torso in a trash bag and called 911, investigators said.
Police returned to the Tarzana home where they said they found blood consistent with a killing and dismemberment. Haskell was arrested at the Topanga Mall later that morning on suspicion of murder.
Authorities have not yet announced the identities of the human remains in the trash bags linked to Haskell — but his wife and her parents, 72-year-old Gaoshan Li and 64-year-old Yanxiang Wang, were last seen on or about Nov. 6, the DA’s release noted.
The couple’s three children were found safe and are now reportedly staying with family.
Detectives have scoured the Tarzana neighborhood for surveillance footage and are interviewing family, friends, neighbors and coworkers. They have not yet said if they are looking for additional body parts or evidence in local landfills.
“I still can’t even wrap my head around it,” one of the Haskells’ neighbors, Elle Benami, told KTLA’s Rachel Menitoff. “I have to remind myself a few times a day that this happened, and it’s a reality.”
Benami’s kids were close to the family’s boys who moved into the Tarzana neighborhood in 2021. She said she spent a lot of time with Mei, who she described as an ideal neighbor and friend.
“Maybe there was something brewing under the surface that we didn’t know about,” Benami said. “It’s sad. It’s scary, and it kind of makes you feel helpless, I guess.”
Robert Chacon, a retired special agent with the Federal Bureau of Investigation, said that detectives with the Los Angeles Police Department are going through the house with a fine-tooth comb, looking at blood and other forensics, as well as the family’s digital footprint and social media platforms.
“The challenge is how do you find out what he did if he’s not talking? You have to find out through all of these other investigative avenues,” Chacon said. “You’re basically piecing a timeline together, and you’re piecing circumstantial evidence together to build a picture.”
Investigators also released photos of two white SUV’s, which they believe are connected to the family.
Haskell is the son of Samuel Haskell III, a once high-profile Hollywood agent.
The 35-year-old made his first appearance in court Monday afternoon and is scheduled to be arraigned on Dec. 8. He is being held without bail.
If convicted on all three counts of murder, Haskell faces a maximum sentence of life in prison without parole.