PALMDALE, Calif. — Authorities have confirmed that a man found dead in a pickup truck in Southern California was wanted for killing a family of three.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department says the body found on Sunday is that of 54-year-old James Todd Brown.

His body had no obvious trauma and the cause of death is under investigation.

Authorities had been hunting Brown since Jan. 13, when they found the slain family in a Palmdale-area home. Investigators say Brown lived in a trailer on the property and did odd jobs for the family.

Authorities say Brown got into an argument that escalated until he beat, stabbed and suffocated 78-year-old Richard Gardner, 56-year-old Pepper Gardner and the man’s 52-year-old son, Richard.

The family dogs also were beaten to death.

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