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Wife Speaks Out About Goleta Man Killed in Newly Revealed 2012 Homicide

Peter Alan D’Orazio's body was found in North Las Vegas, but investigators believe his slaying occurred in Santa Barbara County

For more than two years, Caron Walton D’Orazio hasn’t really talked about the surprising and violent end of her husband’s life.

DOrazio
Peter Alan D’Orazio

Now, the San Luis Obispo resident has opened up about the death of her husband of 25 years, who was killed locally in September 2012, according to a Santa Barbara County Sheriff’s Department’s revelation last week.

The body of Goleta resident Peter Alan D’Orazio, 55, was found in a large storage bin in North Las Vegas by a passerby on Sept. 11, 2012.

The homicide remained unreported until last week.

“Two and a half years later, it’s still unbelievable,” bookkeeper Caron D’Orazio told Noozhawk. “I can’t figure out why anyone would want to kill Peter.”

An extrovert, he had a lot of friends, often barbecuing for co-workers in the oil industry or neighbors.

“He was a very generous person and I think that’s what got him in trouble,” she said. 

The Massachusetts native was a big fan of professional sports teams based in Boston.

“He was just a good guy,” she said.

After working at the noisy oil refinery, Peter found peace in his hobby.

“He loved fishing,” she added.

His favorite spots include Baja, Mexico, and New Hampshire, according to his obituary. They lived for 20 years in the Winchester Canyon area of Goleta, she added. 

The couple have two children, Tara and Nicholas, but were separated when Peter died. Uncomfortable with the term widow, she asked to be referred to as his wife.

Since learning of her husband’s death days after he disappeared, D’Orazio said she routinely called the Sheriff’s Department to check for updates.

“I know they have been working on it,” she said, adding that detectives asked her not to speak out so she only talked about the case to close family and friends. “It has been extremely hard.”

She said she felt trapped in a Catch-22 situation and feared speaking out would harm the investigation.

“I didn’t know which way would help more,” she said, noting that she decided to remain quiet as long as the case progressed.

The Sheriff’s Department released information about the previously unreported homicide last week, saying only that unique circumstances led to the unusual delay.

Spokeswoman Kelly Hoover would not say anything more Monday about the investigation and the reason the agency hid the homicide. Citing “the active investigation,” she declined to answer questions about the cause of death or whether detectives have identified potential suspects.

“We are following new leads and felt it was important at this point to release information regarding this case,” Hoover said. “This has never been a cold case. Detectives have been following this case from the beginning, and have recently intensified the effort by assigning additional investigators to the case.”

The victim was last seen alive about 4:30 p.m. on  Sept. 6, 2012, when he clocked out for the day from his job as an emissions specialist at the ExxonMobil plant west of Goleta. He was reported missing a week later.

On Sept. 14, 2012, the Clark County Coroner's Office in Nevada notified local authorities that a body found three days earlier in their area was D’Orazio.

After two weeks, authorities determined jurisdiction for the case belonged to Santa Barbara County investigators since the homicide likely happened in California.

His wife suspects he returned home from work and followed his normal Thursday routine — exiting the vehicle and taking the garbage cans to the street for collection day the next morning. The garbage cans remained at the curb for several days although he was religious at retrieving them on Friday mornings, his wife said. 

She suspects Peter, who typically went to sleep about 8:30 p.m., was killed by a woman who had been staying at the house and her boyfriend. 

They met through an automobile detailer Peter hired, and he eventually allowed the woman to stay at his house. However, when he later asked her to leave, she refused, requiring him to hire a lawyer to evict the woman, Caron said.

"Shortly after the time she had to leave, he was killed,” Caron said.

The woman, reportedly an Air Force veteran, claimed Peter went to Las Vegas, a story Caron doubts for several reasons, including that he didn’t arrange for anyone to care for his dogs. 

“That would have never happened,” she said.

He also had been logging as much overtime at work as possible to get funds to pay for a trip to surprise his mother on the East Coast for her birthday, Caron added. 

The woman, whom Caron did not name, reportedly used Peter’s credit card in Las Vegas, plus was seen driving his van, which also was found in Vegas.

For now, Caron is happy she can now talk publicly about Peter.

“It’s really a relief that it’s finally here,” she said. 

Anyone with information regarding this case is encouraged to call the sheriff’s anonymous tip line at 805.681.4171.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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