The married dad charged with murdering his wife after a woman’s torso was found in a Los Angeles dumpster is the son of a powerful Hollywood exec who has repped stars like George Clooney, Dolly Parton and Whoopi Goldberg.
Samuel Haskell IV, 35, was booked on suspicion of murder Wednesday hours after a homeless man scavenging for recyclables found a woman’s torso inside a dumpster about five miles from the suspect’s home in Tarzana.
His wife, Mei Haskell, 37, had already been reported missing along with her parents — mom Yanxiang Wang, 64, and dad Gaoshan Li, 72 — who remain unaccounted for.
Cops have since raided the Haskells’ home as it emerged a witness reported seeing what appeared to be body parts in bags outside the property the night before the gruesome discovery of the torso dumped in a mall dumpster.
“Once officers made entry, what was discovered was evidence of a crime, including some blood evidence and other items that I’m not going to provide at this point,” LAPD Detective Efren Gutierrez told ABC 7.
The suspect, meanwhile, has been identified as the son of former William Morris Agency executive vice president Samuel Haskell III, as first reported by the Los Angeles Times.
The elder Haskell joined the leading Hollwyood agency in 1978 and has represented an illustrious list of stars including Clooney, Parton and Goldberg — and even King Charles’ brother Prince Edward.
He became an executive vice president in 1997 and was also the agency’s worldwide head of television, his LinkedIn profile shows. The Emmy-winning producer retired from the agency in 2005 and is currently the president of Magnolia Hill Productions.
In his company biography, Haskell III — who also served as CEO of the Miss America organization from 2015 to 2017 — is said to be “widely known as ‘the nice guy in Hollywood.’”
The Hollywood exec does not appear to have yet addressed the charges against his son, which is not his first run-in with the law, according to records obtained by the LA Times.
In December 2008, Haskell IV was arrested and charged with two counts of assault with a deadly weapon. He pleaded no contest to battery and was placed on three years’ probation in 2010, the LA paper said.
This week, investigators were seen combing through his home for hours, going through belongings in the suspect’s garage and placing evidence markers down.
The night before the torso was found, construction workers told police they saw what looked like a body in black bags near Haskell’s home, but when officers arrived, the bags were gone.
“There was no evidence that allowed the officers to make entry into the home,” Detective Gutierrez told NBC4 about the initial call.
However, the bag containing the torso was consistent with the description of the bags reported by the workers, prompting police to establish a second crime scene at Haskell’s home, where investigators found “blood evidence.”
Police located the couple’s three kids at school Wednesday and turned them over to the Department of Children and Family Services.
Authorities are still working to identify the torso — expected to come through DNA — but believe it is that of Haskell’s wife.
“If a murder suspect is dismembering a body, it’s to delay identification,” Guttierez said.
A neighbor, who did not wish to be identified, told ABC 7 she had a friendship with Mei, but always thought “something seemed so off” about Haskell before his wife’s disappearance.
“Something seemed so weird. I kept saying to my family, ‘Something is wrong with her husband,’” the neighbor, who wished to remain anonymous, told the outlet.
Haskell is being held on $2 million bail at the Valley Jail in Van Nuys in connection to the torso discovery.
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