Bartender Charged in Tragic Murder of Young Woman

In a shocking incident in Laguna Beach, California, a young woman was found dead under horrifying circumstances. The incident occurred on November 12, when a construction worker discovered a woman’s body near a secluded alleyway close to Carmelita’s Restaurant around 8:20 p.m. The victim was identified as Tatum Goodwin, a 27-year-old resident of San Clemente, who was employed at the same restaurant.

Goodwin’s friends revealed that she had joined them for drinks after work on the night preceding the discovery of her body. On November 15, the Laguna Beach Police Department arrested Dino Rojas-Moreno, based on substantial evidence and information. Rojas-Moreno, a 26-year-old from Laguna Hills, was charged with one felony count of murder, one felony enhancement of special circumstances of committing the murder during a kidnapping, and one felony enhancement for personal use of a weapon, as per the district attorney’s office.

Rojas-Moreno is currently being held without bail. The Orange County District Attorney’s Office suspects that Rojas-Moreno approached Goodwin in a parking lot around 1 a.m. on November 12. It is believed that he assaulted Goodwin near her parked car, forcefully dragged her to a secluded area behind a movie theatre under construction, and beat her to death with a fire extinguisher. Goodwin’s body was found several hours later under a chain link fence at a construction site, with a sandbag placed on her head.

Rojas-Moreno, who worked as a bartender, did not report to work on the day of the murder. He claimed that he had been attacked by several men in Santa Ana. There is no evidence to suggest that Goodwin knew Rojas-Moreno prior to her tragic death. Georgette Schuda, a friend and neighbor of Goodwin, stated that Rojas-Moreno had no prior relationship or direct connection to Goodwin.

A candlelight vigil was held at the San Clemente Pier on Wednesday to remember Goodwin. Her mother, Stacy Goodwin-Pitino, described her as a “happy-go-lucky person” who would give you the shirt off her back. A GoFundMe campaign has been initiated by Goodwin’s employer to raise funds for funeral services and to create a memorial in her honor. Goodwin had been working at Carmelita’s Restaurant for four years.

The owner of Carmelita’s Restaurant, Marcos Salim Heredia, remembered Goodwin as a hard-working young lady who always had a smile on her face. Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer expressed his condolences, stating that the loss of an innocent life is a tragedy for the entire community. Rojas-Moreno is scheduled to be arraigned on November 20 at the Central Justice Center in Santa Ana. The Laguna Beach Police Department and Orange County Crime Stoppers are urging anyone with information on the murder to come forward.