San Diego college professor stabbed to death in his Tijuana apartment

December 29, 2010 | 1:50 pm

A popular professor at three San Diego-area colleges was stabbed to death last week in his apartment in Tijuana by an unknown assailant, according to Mexican authorities.

Henry Abalayan Acejo, a 45-year-old instructor of Filipino-language courses and English as a second language, died on the night of Dec. 18, according to a statement released Tuesday by the Baja California attorney general's office.

Authorities did not disclose a motive for the crime. Acejo's body was found in the dining room with multiple stab wounds, and his gray 2002 BMW 325i was found at the apartment building in Tijuana's upscale Zona Rio district, officials said.

Acejo lived in Tijuana because it was more affordable, according to a friend interviewed by the San Diego Union-Tribune. The friend, Ondine Massot, said that she worried about Acejo because he was too kind and trusting, and because he had been robbed at a previous apartment in Tijuana.

"I did not feel safe for him," she told the Union-Tribune.

Acejo was described by colleagues and students as a beloved and dedicated lecturer. An immigrant from the Philippines, he taught at Southwestern College, San Diego State University and Mid-City Community College.

"He was a very popular instructor whose creativity, knowledge, hard work and dedication to his students as a professional were deeply striking, and whose upbeat personality, ubiquitous smile, sense of humor and care for others as a person were extraordinary," said Ghada Osman, the chair of the department of linguistics and Asian/Middle Eastern languages at San Diego State University. ... juana.html