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Medical Examiner establishes Douglas Hardy murdered by blunt force trauma

At about 4:21 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 9, Fallbrook Sheriff deputies were called to a scene in the 1600 block of South Mission Road after receiving a disconnected distress call, according to San Diego Sheriff's Lt. Joseph Jarjura.

Upon arrival, Sheriffs found a man to already be deceased. The Medical Examiner's Office determined the preliminary results for cause of death to be blunt force trauma and the manner of death was a homicide. The victim was positively identified as 38-year-old Douglas Hardy.

Upon arrival on the scene, a witness reported seeing a person, potentially the suspect, fleeing the area on foot with blood-stained clothing and provided a description to the deputies, said SDSO Lt. Jarjura.

Following the witness's account, deputies initiated a search and established a perimeter around the area. Subsequently, a neighbor near Palomino and Morro roads reported a suspicious individual in their yard, leading to a foot chase that ended with the suspect, 35-year-old Brian Francis Zielinski, being detained and arrested for killing Hardy. Sources at the scene noted the individual was found naked with blood on his body.

It is not yet known if there had been any prior contact between the suspect and the victim. According to family, Hardy did not have any drug or alcohol issues. According to his Facebook page, he did audio/visual work.

Hardy's sister Brie described her brother as a "chill guy." She said both he and she were technicians installing teleconferencing equipment and that they have one more brother who lives in Southern California.

Hardy was from Escondido, recently without a home and had obtained a county voucher which was the reason he was in Fallbrook. The suspected killer did not have a voucher for the hotel.

The family is devastated and expressed that they are hoping to find out more from the authorities as to what happened to their brother Doug.

The Econo Lodge is one of three hotels in Fallbrook involved with the voucher program. Econo Lodge Manager Manny Patel relayed to Village News that they take 5 to 12 voucher clients at a time in order to help the homeless problem and keep people off the streets in town and they typically don't really have any problems. He said their motive is to be part of the solution for homelessness.

Homeless people from out of town receive vouchers and are sometimes given a choice from open rooms throughout the county. This is why someone from Oceanside or Escondido may be in Fallbrook on a voucher, especially one that is given for inclement weather.

Patel said that the suspect, Brian Zielinski, showed up at the hotel and asked if he could get a "key for his brother's room," which Patel said they refused. He said that the suspect was pretty scary to look at. Another person on the scene reported that the suspect "smelled like he had been doing meth."

It isn't known yet how Zielinski entered the room before Hardy was killed.

Zielinski is from Knoxville, Tennessee, although arrest records suggest that he may have been arrested in several states across the U.S. including Tennessee, Illinois, Arizona, and most recently in California.

In 2017, he was written about in an online publication called "WeirldNews" after he was arrested for burglary and resisting arrest, He was sneaking into a home where he had been asked to leave because he was acting crazy and he refused, according to news accounts. Apparently, he came back and entered through a bottom-story window.

At that time, he had been claiming he was "Captain Jack Sparrow" and was wearing a pirate costume, complete with a black vest, brown jacket, a black pirate hat, and red gloves.

This is an ongoing story that Village News will report on as information is available.


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