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A man was arrested Sunday in connection with the killing of a hairstylist in San Francisco’s Diamond Heights neighborhood in June, police said today. James Rickleffs, 45, was arrested in connection with the death of Steven “Eriq” Escalon, a 28-year-old man who was found deceased and bound and gagged at his apartment in the 5000 block of Diamond Heights Boulevard shortly after 6 p.m. on June 12, according to police. Several items, including electronics and financial documents, were also taken from Escalon’s home, said police Lt. Hector Sainez, head of the department’s homicide unit. Escalon and Rickleffs apparently met early on the morning of the homicide at a bar in the city’s Castro District and agreed to take a taxi back to Escalon’s apartment, Sainez said.
Several witnesses described the suspect who was seen with Escalon and one identified him as Rickleffs, who was contacted on Sunday and was subsequently arrested on suspicion of murder, according to Sainez. Items from Escalon’s apartment were found in Rickleffs’ possession and investigators also have forensic evidence allegedly linking him to the crime, Sainez said. Police in August had released a sketch of a person of interest in Escalon’s death, and police Chief Greg Suhr said today that “we believe the composite sketch is an accurate depiction” of Rickleffs. Escalon, who grew up in the Central Valley, worked as a cosmetologist at Metamorphosis Salon on Market Street, according to his Facebook page.
Suhr said the case was cracked thanks in part to a quiet August in which no homicides occurred over the course of the entire month, allowing investigators to further look into earlier cases rather than having to handle new ones. The chief said police are asking members of the community for more information about Rickleffs and his actions in recent months. “We’re looking for anyone who has had any contact with the suspect,” Suhr said.
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