A body discovered three weeks ago in a wooded canyon northwest of Santa Cruz has been identified as Elias Sorokin, a Los Angeles man who was reported missing in 2009 and was believed to have been murdered, Santa Cruz police said today.
A forensic analysis that included DNA tests confirmed that the body is Sorokin’s, Santa Cruz Deputy Police Chief Steve Clark said.
The Los Angeles Police Department, which was handling the missing-person case, said Sorokin was last seen in Oakland at about 8 p.m. on July 20, 2009.
His vehicle was found burned eight days later on a fire road in the Bonny Doon area, and his body was finally located earlier this month, on Sept. 9, in a nearby canyon in the area of Warren Drive and Smith Grade Road, about a mile from where the car was recovered, Clark said.
Three men — Stewart Skuba, Kenneth Clamp and Adam Hunt — were arrested and charged with Sorokin’s murder, and Skuba and Clamp were convicted of first-degree murder, according to Santa Cruz County Assistant District Attorney Rob Wade.
Skuba was sentenced to 25 years to life in prison, and Clamp, a third-striker felon, was given a sentence of 85 years to life, Wade said.
Hunt was acquitted of the murder charge but was convicted of robbery, according to Wade.
Wade said Sorokin was killed in an ambush after Skuba asked him to come over to his home in order to rob him with Clamp and Hunt.
According to Wade, the planned interaction was not a drug deal but Sorokin was separately involved in marijuana sales. After Sorokin was killed, Wade said, Skuba and Clamp stole 10 pounds of marijuana from his truck along with guitars and other items.
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