He Took His Girls Out So Wife Could Study, Was Murdered

GQ looks at the death of Tristan Beaudette in Malibu Creek State Park
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 24, 2019 6:47 PM CDT
He Took His Girls Out So Wife Could Study, Was Murdered
This July 1, 2018 file photo shows Malibu Creek State Park near Calabasas, Calif.   (AP Photo/John Antczak)

"Malibu is a perfect city." That's not what Meliss Tatangelo thinks—she says that's the attitude of law enforcement, who she says reacted improperly after someone shot at her car as she slept in it at Malibu Creek State Park in January 2017. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department told her it wasn't their jurisdiction; State Parks told her "this doesn't happen out here." Except it did—fatally, a year and a half later. In a lengthy piece for GQ, Zach Baron explores the June 22, 2018, death of Tristan Beaudette as he slept next to his young daughters in a tent at the same park. That Beaudette was even at the campground is tied to how accomplished he and his wife were: The two met as high schoolers in Fresno and stayed in touch as Erica Wu went to Stanford and he to UC San Diego, where he graduated with the highest GPA in the whole college.

He went into pharmaceuticals; she studied to be an OB-GYN. The two married in 2008 and had two girls. They decided to move to the Bay Area, and were to relocate one week after Wu took a qualifying board exam. So that she could have a quiet night to study before the big test, Beaudette decided to take the girls camping. Baron comes at the case from several angles: Introducing us to Beaudette and the details of that night (he fatefully changed campsites), charting accusations that officials had been aware of unsolved shootings in the area but kept it quiet from the public (a lieutenant with the department says he lobbied to warn the public and was retaliated against internally), and detailing the arrest of Anthony Rauda, who police say is responsible for pretty much every shooting reported in the area over three years. Others call the 42-year-old, whose family describes him as fearful of people, a scapegoat. (Read the full story.)

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