SAN FRANCISCO -- Two of three victims found stuffed in oil drums in Golden Gate Park have been identified as having lengthy San Francisco police records.
Chief Assistant Coroner Joe Surdyka identified the male victim Friday as Michael Thomas, 24. Homicide Inspector Mike Mullane said Thomas had an arrest record for robbery and drug offenses dating back to 1977.
One of the two nude females found in the other oil drum was identified as Phyllis Melendez, 24, also known as Christina Thomas. Mullane said she had lived with Thomas in various Mission District and Tenderloin hotels and had been arrested five times since last year for prostitution.
Mullane said they had a child together and an announcement of their identities was delayed until notification of Thomas's mother, who lives in San Francisco and cares for the child.
Surdyka said coroner's technicians were having difficulty identifying the other victim because of the body's decomposed state. Investigators were able to obtain fingerprints from the bodies of Thomas and Ms. Melendez.
The coroner also put the two painted barrels in which police found the bodies on display to the media because they hoped someone would come forward to identify them if pictures of the 55-gallon drums were publicized by the media.
'We know where one of the barrels was manufactured,' Coroner Boyd Stephens said, 'but the serial number was worn off so we don't know where it was shipped. We don't have any good clues about the others.
'So we're hoping somebody might recognize one of the barrels if they see a picture on television or in a newspaper and give us some information.'
All three victims had been shot execution-style in the back of the head, the coroner said, but refused to say whether the bullets were the cause of death since there was some possibility the shots could have been fired to conceal the true cause of death, or to make sure they were dead.
Neither would he say how long the bodies had been in the 55-gallon drums discovered near some bushes in Golden Gate Park.
Investigators retrieved the bullets shot into the victims, but a detective said they 'don't look good' and probably ate too damaged to provide information about what kind of gun was used.
He said the drums were probably dumped in the park early April 29. At that time a witness heard 'two loud thumps' and saw three cars near the place where the barrels were found.
Police earlier this week speculated the slayings were either related to drugs or prostitution but did not specify further.