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Police Files

Man sentenced to life without possibility of parole for murdering Laguna Beach man

On Friday, July 26, Edward Younghoon Shin, 41, of Irvine, was sentenced to life without the possibility of parole for murdering his business partner, Laguna Beach resident Christopher Smith, in their San Juan Capistrano office to gain control of the victim’s shares of the company.

In 2010, Shin co-owned an Internet advertising business, 800xchange, with 33-year-old Christopher Smith, a Laguna Beach resident.

According to an Orange County District Attorney spokesperson, “On June 4, 2010, Shin murdered Smith in their San Juan Capistrano office and disposed of the body. He committed the murder for financial gain with the intention of gaining full ownership of the business. After the murder, Shin produced documents containing a false signature from Smith signing the rights of the business over to the defendant.”

Police Files Christopher Smith

Courtesy of OCSD

Laguna Beach resident Christopher Smith was murdered by his business partner Edward Shin

Shin was convicted in December 2018 of one felony count of murder with a sentencing enhancement for murder for financial gain.

Smith lived in Laguna Beach at the time of his murder. LBPD began investigating the case as a missing persons case based on a report filed by the victim’s family in April 2011. Shin had been sending fake emails from Smith’s account to his family and friends after he murdered him, pretending to be Smith, which stated he was traveling abroad.

 “From the onset of this investigation, Ed Shin mislead Laguna Beach Detectives and tried to cover up for his crime,” LBPD Capt Jason Kravetz said.

Police Files Edward Shin

Courtesy of OCSD

Edward Shin’s OCSD booking photo; Shin murdered Laguna Beach resident Christopher Smith, his business partner 

The Orange County Sheriff’s Department (OCSD) took over as the lead investigating agency based on evidence that the victim had been murdered in his San Juan Capistrano business, Capt Kravetz explained. 

“We were pleased that the jury found Ed Shin guilty of murder, but disheartened by the fact that he refuses to tell [Christopher’s] family where [he] is buried.” Capt Kravetz said. “His life sentence closes one door for the family, but they are unable to properly bury Chris until Ed Shin discloses where he left the body.”

Shin was arrested on Aug 28, 2011, by OCSD Investigators at Los Angeles International Airport sitting onboard a flight awaiting departure to Canada. 

Senior Deputy District Attorney Matt Murphy of the Homicide Unit prosecuted this case.

Woman suffers serious head injury behind Glenneyre parking structure 

On Thursday, July 25, at 1:27 p.m., an LBPD officer responded to Peppertree Lane, at the 400 block of S Coast Hwy, for a trip and fall report.

According to LBFD engineer paramedic Pat Cary, “Engine 1 responded to find an unknown aged female transient who was unresponsive. She had what appeared to be a laceration and hematoma to her head due to the mechanism of injury. Due to her level of consciousness it was deemed necessary to transfer her to Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo for further evaluation from the trauma team.”

As of press time, no status update was available.

Snake sneaks into resident’s bedroom

On Saturday, July 28, at 12:50 a.m., at the 2000 block of Temple Hills Drive, a resident called to report that a rattlesnake was inside a bedroom closet in her home. 

According to LBPD Civilian Services Administrator Jim Beres, “The resident’s pet dog located the snake in the bedroom. The dog was not injured.”

He continued, “An animal services officer (ASO) was quickly dispatched to handle the matter. While the ASO was enroute to the resident’s home, the snake moved to a bathroom next to the bedroom.”

Beres explained that the snake might have gained access through an open door or screen door.    

After the ASO arrived at the resident’s home, the ASO determined that the snake was a non-venomous gopher snake, not a rattlesnake. 

“When the ASO arrived, the snake had moved outside to the backyard area,” Beres said.

The ASO removed the snake.

“The gopher snake was caught behind a tool shed in the resident’s backyard. The snake was released back into the wilderness area,” Beres said.

Helicopter rescue at 1000 Steps Beach on Sunday

On Sunday, July 28, at approximately 6 p.m., emergency services received a call regarding a young female in duress at 1000 Steps Beach.

According to LBFD engineer paramedic Pat Cary, “Engine 4 ran a call to 1000 Steps for a young adult female patient who had what was described as a possible allergic reaction.”

Treatment was started on scene by Laguna Engine 4 paramedics. OC Fire Department Engine 30 and OC Lifeguards helped coordinate the landing of Mercy Air helicopter. 

“The patient was successfully extricated and transferred to Mission Hospital, Mission Viejo via helicopter for further care,” Cary said.

As of press time, no status update was available.

Editor’s Note: An arrest contains allegations that a suspect has committed a crime. Every suspect is presumed to be innocent until and unless proven guilty in court.

-By Suzie Harrison