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Calif. Man Allegedly Killed Parents, Housekeeper in Upscale Home Before Going to E.R.

People logo People 2/20/2019 Jeff Truesdell
a person posing for the camera: Calif. Man Allegedly Killed Parents, Housekeeper in Upscale Home Before Going to E.R. © Orange County District Attorney’s Office Calif. Man Allegedly Killed Parents, Housekeeper in Upscale Home Before Going to E.R.

Something about the 27-year-old man who showed up Wednesday night in the emergency room at Irvine Medical Center in California led the staff to alert police.

Whether it was something they observed or overheard him say, police aren’t saying. But after Irvine officers spoke with the man, Camden Burton Nicholson, they called their peers in neighboring Newport Beach about 9 p.m. and sent them to a home in the gated Bonita Canyon community for a welfare check.

Inside the Newport Beach residence at 36 Palazzo, police found three bodies, they said in a news release.

Dead were Nicholson’s father, Richard, 64, and mother Kim, 61, and a woman later identified as the couple’s housekeeper, Maria Morse, 57, the Orange County Sheriff’s Office confirmed.

Authorities have declined to reveal a cause of death, citing an ongoing investigation, Newport Beach police spokeswoman Heather Rangel tells PEOPLE.

Police allege that Camden killed his parents on Feb. 11 and the housekeeper the next day, according to a criminal complaint charging him with the triple homicide, reports the Orange County Register.

Camden was arrested and is being held in the Orange County jail with no bail, with March 8 as his next scheduled court date, jail records show.

He is expected to enter a plea at that hearing, according to the Los Angeles Times. An attorney who might speak on his behalf was not immediately identified.

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Police have been mum about a motive for the alleged slayings.

But Wayne Morse, the husband of Maria Morse, said Kim Nicholson recently had given his wife a letter with directions to take it to an attorney, explaining that she was fearful of her son, according to the Register.

Wayne Morse said he’d become worried last week after his wife left their Anaheim home to go to the Nicholsons’ home and then didn’t return. She’d worked for the couple for more than 10 years, Morse’s daughter Miriam Trujillo told the newspaper.

“I got a feeling something bad happened,” Morse said.

The Nicholsons were a “kind” couple, their neighbor Scott Spiegel told TV station KTLA. “The individual that did this struggled terribly and did something horrific. … It’s just so tragic,” he said.

Richard Nicholson had been chief executive of West Pacific Medical Laboratory and later a consultant for the company following its sale two years ago. It’s now known as WestPac Labs. “He was a really good man who was looking to help people,” Staton Shed, interim president of WestPac Labs, told the Times. “I was just amazed someone at his level looked out for everyone he worked with, including staff and clients.”

Richard also was a 15-year board member of the environmental group Orange County Coastkeeper, for which the philanthropic couple were longtime supporters.

“He’s been an integral part of our board,” the nonprofit’s executive director, Garry Brown, told the Times, adding that Richard was due to attend a strategic planning session for the organization on the night his body was found. “It’s just such a tragic loss.”

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