Arrest made in death of woman found in suitcase

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SAN DIEGO -- A suspect was arrested Friday in connection with the death of a young woman whose body was stuffed into a suitcase and left in a garbage can outside a Core-Columbia inn.

Joshua Matthew Palmer, 33, was taken into custody in the 14000 block of San Diego Mission Road in the Grantville area Friday afternoon on suspicion of murdering 21-year-old Shauna Haynes.

"Prayers up for sure, that’s one of the saddest things I’ve heard in my life," said Tommy Gunz, a local tattoo artist who worked on the victim.

"She was a nice girl, yeah," said Gunz. "We sat for like three hours or something maybe three or four hours, she was stoked on her tattoo."

Gunz said both Haynes and Palmer showed in February for the session.

"He looked kind of like that, yeah, kind of big. He wasn’t very much talkative but he didn’t seem like a mean person."

The body of a woman found in a suitcase was taken away from the crime scene.

The body of a woman found in a suitcase was taken away from the crime scene.

Late Wednesday morning, a guest at the Chadwick hotel in the 600 block of A Street found the valise containing the San Diego woman's body near a row of trash cans alongside a parking area at the rear of the three-story building, Lt. Ray Valentin said.

Noticing what appeared to be hair protruding from a zipper on the case, the man made an emergency call. Patrol officers confirmed the death, then called in a homicide team.

Authorities have yet to disclose Haynes' cause of death or release a suspected motive for the slaying. Her relationship to Palmer, if any, also is unclear.

Evidence suggests that the “medium sized'' wheeled suitcase containing Haynes' body had been dumped in one of the trash cans next to which it was found, Valentin said. A man who brought the bins from the curbside to the hotel parking lot prior to the discovery of the body told police one of them had felt unusually heavy.

Detectives do not know who removed the valise from the garbage bin, according to Valentin.

Palmer was booked into San Diego Central Jail. His arraignment was scheduled for Tuesday.