The "Hollywood Head" murder is featured on Monday's People Magazine Investigates episode

By Chris Harris
December 02, 2016 08:31 AM

It was a grisly discovery by a dog walker and her mother, made in early 2012 along a trail leading to the famed “Hollywood” sign: the severed head of a 66-year-old man.

In time, authorities would reveal that the head had belonged to Hervey Medellin, a former Mexicana Airlines clerk and art collector. His feet and hands were located about 50 yards away from the cave’s entrance, and years later, the rest of Medellin’s remains were retrieved from deep inside the cave.

Immediately, investigators zeroed in on Medellin’s boyfriend and roommate, Gabriel Campos-Martinez.

Police suspected the relationship soured and Medellin was going to leave Campos-Martinez. Friends told police that Medellin would never disappear to Mexico, that it was out of character for him. Foul play was suspected.

Medellin’s murder is the focus of the upcoming People Magazine Investigates episode “Hollywood Horror Story,” which airs Monday night at 10 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery.

In addition to Campos-Martinez, authorities also considered William Ladewig — the man Campos-Martinez had left so he could be with Medellin — as a potential suspect.

Authorities said Ladewig hadn’t handled the breakup well, and began intimidating the new couple. His behavior became so threatening that Campos-Martinez sought a restraining order against Ladewig.

• For more on the case of the Hollywood Head, watch “Hollywood Horror Story” on our 10-part true crime show, People Magazine Investigates, airing Monday nights at 10 p.m. ET on Investigation Discovery

Police eventually determined that Ladewig had no involvement in Medellin’s killing, and arrested Campos-Martinez in 2014.

Authorities alleged Campos-Martinez strangled Medellin on Dec. 27, 2011, when he tried to break things off. A jury convicted Campos-Martinez in 2015, and a judge sentenced him to serve 25 years to life in prison.

Gabriel Campos-Martinez
Bexar County Sheriff's Office/Reuters/Landov

The case generated widespread speculation, including theories Medellin’s death was tied to a Mexican drug cartel or even to Luka Magnotta, a Canadian porn actor convicted last December of dismembering a Chinese exchange student and sending some of his body parts to members of the Canadian Parliament.

WATCH: 3 Things To Know About The Murder Of Hervey Medellin

• Watch the People Magazine Investigates After Show, on the new People/Entertainment Weekly Network (PEN). Go to, or download the PEN app on Apple TV, Roku Players, Amazon Fire TV, Xumo, Chromecast, iOS and Android devices

During the investigation, detectives analyzed the Internet history of one of the couple’s computers and discovered a search for sausage-making tools and meat-saws had been made a few days before the murder.

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Then, after the murder, the user accessed an article entitled, “Butchering of the Human Carcass for Human Consumption.” The article provided detailed directions on how to dismember a corpse with tips on draining blood from a body.

Well-known Mexican actress Ofelia Medina, a friend of Medellin, testified at Campos-Martinez’s trial.

Medina told the court she recognized two medallions Medellin kept in a safe in his bedroom closet that police later discovered were pawned by Campos-Martinez at a pawn shop.

Watch the “Hollywood Horror Story” episode of People Magazine Investigates this Monday (10 p.m. ET) on Investigation Discovery.