An Oceanside man accused in the grisly murder of his wife – which allegedly included dismembering her and cooking her body parts on the stove – recently died in jail, the San Diego District Attorney’s office confirmed.
Frederick Hengl, 69, died of cancer on Sept. 27 while awaiting trial behind bars, according to DA spokesperson Steve Walker.
His hearings had been postponed several times due to his illness and ongoing treatment. Most recently, his preliminary hearing had been set for Nov. 18 – almost one year to the date of his arrest.
Hengl was taken into custody on November 16, 2012, after his wife, 73-year-old Anna Faris, was found dead inside their home in the 400-block of North Ditmar Street.
Neighbors reported a foul odor coming from the residence. Initially, some neighbors believed the overwhelming stench may have been coming from a dead animal.
When officers entered the home, they found the dismembered remains of Faris – who had likely been dead for weeks – cooking in pans in the kitchen. The heat on the stove was still on when authorities entered the home, according to a complaint read by Katherine Flaherty, Deputy District Attorney with the County of San Diego.
Investigators had to wear masks while collecting evidence, officials said.
Investigators also found Faris' head in the freezer and a work bench used for the mutilation in the bathroom. Near the work bench, investigators discovered a saw, a boning knife, other cutting tools and pieces of bone in a plastic bag.
Officials said there was no evidence of cannibalism, despite the gruesome scene.
Hengl was located by police in downtown Oceanside that same night. He voluntarily went to police headquarters for questioning.
After his interviews with police, he was arrested on suspicion of his wife’s murder.
Prosecutors would later say they believed Hengl killed his wife between Nov. 1 and Nov. 16, and then began dismembering her body bit by bit.
On November 21, 2012, Hengl appeared in court and pleaded not guilty to first-degree murder and committing and unlawful act with human remains. At that point, his bail was set at $5 million.
Police said they were familiar with the Oceanside couple, but had never been called to their home for domestic disturbances.
However, last November, neighbors told NBC 7 that the couple was known around the neighborhood for some unusual tendencies.
One resident said Hengl allegedly dressed up like a woman and walked around the neighborhood while Faris, according to the neighbor, would sometimes stand on the street with a knife.
The couple did not have any children, officials said.