Elderly Man’s Dismembered Body Found Decomposing Inside Trash Bags At His Home

Long-time neighbors are remembering the life of Kenneth Peterson, who died in a gruesome manner at age 80.

A man’s body was found dismembered and decomposing in his Phoenix home. Neighbors identified the victim as 80-year-old Kenneth Peterson, who they said had helped anybody and would go over and help at the church.

Phoenix police conducted a welfare check on the victim after the family reported they had not heard from the victim in three to four weeks.

Police found the victim’s body in a bedroom after forcing entry into the home and noticed a strong foul odor. They found the victim’s decomposing body inside two black trash bags. The cause of death will be determined by the Maricopa County medical examiner’s office.

Police said Ramona Gonzalez, a friend of Kenneth Peterson, moved into the victim’s home last year and relapsed on illicit drugs. She had a male friend, Thomas Wallace, who also moved in with Kenneth and Ramona.

Investigators aren’t clear on when the victim was killed. The method and motive of his murder are still under investigation.

Detectives learned Peterson’s truck was missing, and arrested Wallace and Gonzalez after finding them at a motel with Peterson’s truck.

Investigators learned Wallace had pawned items on Oct. 26, including a chainsaw, a hedger, and a bag containing a camera. Both Gonzalez and Wallace could be seen on the pawn shop’s surveillance footage. The items were found to have been used to kill a person, and Wallace is being held on a $1 million cash bond.

Gonzalez told detectives that Wallace’s behavior was the reason she was staying at the motel and not at the victim’s home. Gonzalez also told them that she and a friend found blood on the floor and later found the victim’s body.

John Nightbridge is a veteran reporter, researcher, and economic policy major from UCLA. Passionate about world issues and potential ways to solve them is a significant focus of his work. Writing freelance and reading the news are John's passions at work. Outside of work, it's all about sky diving, surfing, and stock market modeling.