A 24-year-old Napa transient is facing murder, robbery and burglary allegations after being arrested Friday while driving the vehicle of a man found dead at his Napa home, authorities announced.
Adrian Madrigal was stopped by a California Highway Patrol officer at about 4 p.m. Friday for a traffic violation on Highway 128 near Lake Berryessa, according to the Napa Police Department. Madrigal was driving an SUV owned by Don Buffington, 62, whose body was found by police later Friday inside his house in the 1100 block of Hayes Street, police Capt. Jeff Troendly said Saturday afternoon.
The CHP officer who stopped Madrigal ran a Department of Motor Vehicles check on the vehicle, a black Chevrolet TrailBlazer, after noticing its lack of license plates and seeing several pieces of jewelry in it, according to Troendly.
After being notified of the traffic stop, Napa Police and Napa County Sheriff's deputies went to the home and found possible blood smears on the back door, according to the police statement. The officers then found Buffington, who neighbors said lived alone, dead inside.
Madrigal was arrested on suspicion of murder, robbery, burglary, vehicle theft and violating probation, and was taken to the Napa Police Department for questioning, according to Troendly. He was booked into the Napa County jail at 11:30 p.m. Friday, according to booking records.
Troendly said Buffington is believed to have died some time after 11 p.m. Thursday, but the cause of death and what weapon may have been used remained unknown Saturday afternoon. Madrigal was stopped by a law enforcement officer at about 3:45 a.m. Friday in Middletown but was not detained, he added.
Neighbors said detectives arrived at Buffington’s house, a white stucco one-story structure, at about 5:20 p.m. Friday and stayed for about 18 hours, blocking access with police tape and removing items in bags.
Madrigal was on probation after serving jail time for a November 2011 incident in which he scaled the water tower at the former Sawyer Tanning Mill off Coombs Street and Imola Avenue, then dropped objects from the tower, according to Troendly. He was convicted last year of assault with a deadly weapon in connection to the incident.
On April 22, Madrigal was arrested again at the Kohl’s department store in downtown Napa on suspicion of shoplifting, according to Troendly. He was detained after removing price tags from $123 worth of clothing, then trying to leave the store, the Napa Valley Register reported at the time.
The Napa County Major Crimes Task Force, which is composed of the Napa Police, sheriff's office, Napa County District Attorney's Office and Calistoga police, is investigating the incident. The state Department of Justice has sent detectives to assist Napa police at the crime scene, according to Troendly.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to call Detective Andy Hess at 707-257-9507.