A couple allegedly tortured and murdered a 70-year-old Vietnam War veteran in Hanford, Calif. in an attempt to gain access to his financial information, police say.

Kenneth Coyle, a retired contractor for Naval Air Station Lemoore first met Stacie Mendoza, one of the accused murderers, in a Hanford restaurant where she worked as a waitress, according to the Hanford Police Department.

The two became friends, but police believe Mendoza was secretly using the friendship to gain access to Coyle’s financial information, Hanford Police Captain Karl Anderson said during a press conference Monday.


Police say that on April 5, Mendoza and her husband Jose went to Coyle’s house and tortured the veteran in an attempt to get him to reveal more financial information.

“They restrained him on a bed and beat him to get access to his bank account information, passwords and other account information,” Anderson said. After the suspected torture, Coyle died of “blunt force trauma and suffocation.”

A few days later, the Mendozas and their three children allegedly drove to nearby Madera County and burned Coyle’s body.


Police say that the Mendozas then returned to Coyle’s house to steal more of his items last week, but were spotted by property management employees. {snip}


Police later apprehended the couple at a Denny’s near Los Angeles International Airport. Jose Mendoza had Coyle’s credit card and a plane ticket to his native El Salvador in his possession at the time of his arrest.


Kenneth Coyle

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