Dino Rojas-Moreno is the 26-year-old suspect accused of murdering Tatum Goodwin, a California restaurant worker who was found beaten to death after a night out in Laguna Beach on November 12, 2023.
“On Wednesday, November 15, 2023, Laguna Beach Detectives, with assistance from the Newport Beach and Anaheim Police Departments, arrested Dino Rojas-Moreno, age 26, in the City of Laguna Hills for murder,” the Laguna Beach Police Department wrote in a news release. “Rojas-Moreno’s bail is set at $1,000,000. Detectives determined this was an isolated incident and there is no further threat to the community.”
Law and Crime gave the suspect’s full name as Dino Fabrizio Rojas-Moreno.
One of Goodwin’s sisters, Lacey Pitino, wrote on Facebook, “I am saddened to say that Saturday night my sister Tatum Goodwin was murdered in Laguna Beach. She was beloved by her family, friends, and all who knew her. I have no words to explain how devastated myself and my family are at this time. I appreciate all the love from the community.”
Pitino wrote after news of the arrest:
Tonight not only did we have a beautiful candle lit vigil to honor my beautiful sister. But they also arrested a suspect in her murder. I first want to say how grateful I am for all the love and support from family, friends, and community. It was overwhelming to see all the people Tatum’s heart touched.
I am also grateful for how swift the LBPD worked to apprehend and arrest a suspect in her homicide. A conviction in Tatum’s murder will not bring her back but will bring her and our family some form of justice. It will also hopefully stop this tragedy from happening again to someone’s else’s loved one.
“This arrest was the result of outstanding police work by our Investigations team that worked tirelessly with our law enforcement partners to bring justice to Tatum Goodwin and her family,” said Laguna Beach Police Chief Jeff Calvert, in the news release.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Prosecutors Accuse Dino Rojas-Moreno of Beating Tatum Goodwin to Death With a Fire Extinguisher & Putting a Sandbag Over Her Head
In a press release, prosecutors accused Rojas-Moreno of using a fire extinguisher to beat Goodwin to death.
“A 26-year-old bartender has been charged with special circumstances murder for beating a 27-year-old woman to death with a fire extinguisher and leaving her body with a sandbag covering her head in a nearby construction site,” the press release, by the Orange County District Attorney’s Office, says.
“Her body was under a chain link fence on a construction site and a sandbag had been placed on her head,” it adds.
According to an earlier news release from the Laguna Beach Police Department, on Sunday, November 12, at approximately 8:20 a.m., a construction worker “discovered a person down in a secluded location near the 200 block of Ocean Avenue. Laguna Beach police and fire personnel responded to the location and found a deceased adult female, possibly in her mid to late 20s.”
Laguna Beach detectives “responded and found the scene to be suspicious. Detectives are investigating the incident as a homicide. Positive identification of the adult female and cause of death will be completed by the Orange County Coroner’s Division,” the release says.
According to KTLA, Goodwin, 27, “was found dead in an alley behind an old movie theater and a restaurant.”
Her friends told KTLA that she went to work Saturday and then to Hennessey’s Tavern. She was from San Clemente, California, according to the Orange County Register.
Tatum was not just a guest to us, she was family. We want to thank everyone for all the information & support given. We are so thankful for the diligent team of LBPD, detectives, crime lab, rangers, FBI, and OC sheriffs department. Please continue to share any & all information, the little things can help. This horrific event has left us heartbroken, and we hope to have justice for her sweet soul soon. Thank you again to everyone for your help, her family, & close friends are immensely grateful for all the help. Please stay safe🏼 If you can please donate to the gofundme set up for Tatum that is linked in our bio, anything helps❤️
“We are saddened by this senseless act of violence. Our detectives are working diligently to bring the suspect(s) to justice,” said Chief Jeff Calvert.
“Anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to call Laguna Beach Detective Tanner Flagstad at (949) 497-0369 or via email at email@example.com,” police wrote.
“Those with information may also contact authorities anonymously through Orange County Crime Stoppers by dialing 1-855-TIP-OCCS or by installing the ‘P3 Tips’ mobile application on Google Play or the iOS App Store or by using the website http://occrimestoppers.org.”
2. Dino Rojas-Moreno, Who Worked as a Bartender, Is Accused of Assaulting Tatum Goodwin Near Her Parked Car
The DA’s press release says Rojas-Moreno was working as a bartender. “It is unclear whether Goodwin had any prior relationship with Rojas-Moreno. Rojas-Moreno failed to show up to work the day of the murder after claiming he had been jumped by several men in Santa Ana,” the DA.s press release says.
According to Law and Crime, “Social media profiles suggested a man using an abbreviated iteration of the suspect’s name worked at numerous bars and restaurants throughout Orange County.”
“Rojas-Moreno is accused of approaching Goodwin in a nearby parking lot around 1 a.m. that morning and assaulting her near her parked car,” the DA”s press release says. “Rojas-Moreno then forcefully dragged her to the rear of the parking lot, down a short alley, and to a secluded area behind a movie theatre that was under construction. Rojas-Moreno is then accused of beating Goodwin to death with a fire extinguisher. Goodwin was found several hours later.”
Kaylee Godwin, Tatum’s sister, wrote on Facebook that, on Sunday November 12, 2023, “I lost my Sister Tatum Goodwin, she was taken from this world by someone evil. And I will never feel or be okay. My world is shattered. My family is shattered. I’m grieving and it’s so hard to see life after this. Please pray for my family during this time.”
She shared a Paypal link for donations to a memorial fund for Goodwin.
The site Under Laguna reported that Goodwin “worked at Carmelita’s and was seen with her friends at Hennessey’s and the Marine Room that night. Allegedly, she also recently broke up with her boyfriend.”
According to that site, “One report said she left Marine Room very late, upset. A downtown resident allegedly heard screaming about 2 a.m.”
3. Dino Rojas-Moreno Faces the Death Penalty, if Convicted
Because prosecutors charged him with special circumstances, they say Rojas-Moreno faces the death penalty, if convicted.
“Dino Rojas-Moreno, 26, of Laguna Hills, has been charged with one felony count of murder, one felony enhancement of special circumstances of committing the murder in the commission of a kidnapping, and one felony enhancement for the personal use of a weapon, a fire extinguisher,” the DA’s press release says.
“The loss of an innocent life is a travesty for the entire community,” said Orange County District Attorney Todd Spitzer. “It is heartbreaking that a young woman with her entire future ahead of her had her life ended in such a brutal way and then discarded like her life never matter. She mattered, and the Orange County District Attorney’s Office is committed to ensuring justice is served.”
Madison Moyer wrote on Facebook, “My soulmate, best friend, other half, the light of my life, the person who brought me peace when I couldn’t find it myself was brutally and viciously taken from me Saturday night.”
She shared a GoFundMe page in Goodwin’s memory.
4. Tatum Goodwin’s Boss at a Restaurant Described Her as a ‘Very Hard-Working Young Lady’
The GoFundMe page was created by Goodwin’s manager.
“Hi, my name is Marcos Salim Heredia, I am the owner and operator of Carmelita’s Restaurants. I have had the great pleasure to have Tatum as our assistant manager, friend, and family member in our business for 4 years,” he wrote.
“Tatum was a very hard working young lady and always kept a smile on her face. Over the years she had expressed her pleasure to be in laguna and have her opportunity with us. We felt that we really had a family member here with us. I am seeking help to make a memorial in the city of Laguna Beach for our team and family member.”
We are still in disbelief and we dont want her to go unforgotten. We are attempting to raise capital for her Memorial Services and also help with creating a memorial in the city, so everyone in town never forgets about our sweet friend Tatum. Please help us honor Tatum, she was found lifeless in Laguna Beach and we are being told at the moment, that this is a ongoing homicide investigation. We are going to do our best to make sure we help the city in anyway to help the police with their work and investigations. We truly need your help to give Tatum the memorial she very much deserves.
A person who contributed wrote, “Tatum was my coworker and a dear friend of mine. We shared many heart to heart moments and could talk to each other about anything and everything. She was such a beautiful person and did not deserve this. My condolence to all of Tatum’s friends and family.”
5. Tatum Goodwin Showcased an Active Life on Instagram, Posting Pictures With Her Dog & Friends
Goodwin’s Facebook page contained a picture of a rose, a sandwich, a boy fishing and not much else.
On Instagram, she mostly shared photos with her dog and friends.
“Sunday funday • with my baby Brody 🐾❤😊 #rottie,” she wrote of one picture with her dog.