Ridgecrest murder suspect reportedly complained about victim not returning his feelings for her

Homicide News

RIDGECREST, Calif. (KGET) — A bloody morning on Ridgecrest’s Skylark Avenue may have been caused by a young man angry that a woman didn’t want a serious relationship with him.

17 News obtained court documents detailing the case against Daniel Gunnarsson, 20, who is accused of murdering 21-year-old Kathryn Pham in Ridgecrest.

The morning of May 18, Gunnarsson was allegedly found with Pham’s body in an RV garage at his stepfather’s home, with his pants “saturated” with blood, and covering his hands and neck. Pham had suffered severe wounds to the back of her head and body.

Once he was in custody, investigators reportedly asked Gunnarsson what happened to Pham and he replied “I killed her.” Gunnarsson also reportedly was asked about Pham’s head wounds and replied “I don’t know, I must have bashed it in” using the icepick.

According to the court documents, Gunnarsson’s stepfather told investigators that Gunnarsson and Pham had been dating, but not “very long.” He said earlier in the morning, Gunnarrson told him that he was going through a breakup, and his step-aunt later saw Gunnarsson and Pham together before she was killed.

In a separate interview, two friends of Gunnarsson told investigators that the relationship was more casual, and while it had been sexual occasionally, Gunnarsson allegedly was upset that Pham wouldn’t “reciprocate his feelings” for her. They said the day before the murder, Gunnarsson had been suicidal, driving eratically and backing his car hard into a wall outside the apartment.

A friend of Katie Pham said she had once heard Gunnarsson insult Pham over the phone during an argument about her not wanting to go over to his house. She described another incident where the two picked her up from Las Vegas “a few days” before Pham’s death, and Gunnarsson drove erratically and at high speeds through traffic, because Pham was on the phone and not giving him attention. The friend said she forced Gunnarsson to stop so she could drive the rest of the way.

During the interview with detectives in Ridgecrest, Gunnarsson reportedly displayed odd behavior, but told detectives he was “putting on an act” when called out on it. He also said he didn’t take any medication but used marijuana and “wax,” a potent marijuana concentrate. According to the documents, a detective asked him if he was high during the interview, and he replied “Yes sir.” Gunnarsson’s stepfather told investigators that he didn’t know of any drug abuse or mental issues, but criminal proceedings were suspended last week so that he could be evaluated, to determine if he’s mentally competent to stand trial. A hearing on the report will be held next Tuesday.

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