By Richard Winton and Lila Seidman
From Los Angeles Times
LOS ANGELES—The lives of a young model and an architect in Los Angeles were cut short when they were allegedly given an overdose of drugs and left for dead at nearby hospitals, officials said this week.
Christy Giles, 24, and Hilda Marcela Cabrales Arzola, 26, both died under suspicious circumstances in November, prompting an investigation. The Los Angeles Police Department on Thursday announced that three men have been arrested in connection with their deaths.
David Pearce, 37, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter. Brandt Osborn, 42, and Mike Ansbach, 47, were arrested on suspicion of accessory to manslaughter. All three were arrested by the LAPD-FBI Fugitive Task Force and Metropolitan Division on Wednesday.
According to police reports, homicide detectives began investigating after masked men dropped Giles off at a hospital in Culver City on Nov. 13 and sped away in a black Toyota Prius with no plates. Giles was unconscious at the time and was soon pronounced dead.
Arzola was dropped off at Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles hospital a short time later. She was in a coma and in very critical condition. She died Nov. 24 having never regained consciousness, according to investigators.
Authorities allege both women were given overdoses at a home on Olympic Boulevard just south of Beverly Hills. About 12 hours before they were left at the hospitals, the women were seen leaving a party at a warehouse on the Eastside.
Giles’ family hailed the news of the three men’s arrests, saying in a statement Thursday afternoon that they were “very pleased” by the development.
“We, Christy’s family, will NOT rest until these men face a jury of their peers and are found guilty,” the statement said. “Then and only then will justice be found for Christy and Marcela.”
The family’s statement called the process “not a sprint but a marathon” and said it is now in the hands of the L.A. County district attorney’s office.
Giles’ husband, Jan Cilliers, said he believed the two women wound up at Pearce’s house after leaving the party. At one point, they texted each other saying “they need to get out of there,” he said, and even called an Uber.
“Then nobody heard from them for 12 hours until my wife’s body got dropped off at an emergency room,” he said.
Cilliers described Giles as loving, kind and “the biggest defender of everybody that she loved.”
“That’s part of the reason I’m staying so strong, because I know if the roles were reversed she would absolutely be doing this for me,” he said.
Based on the investigation, police are “concerned that there could be other victims in our community who could have been drugged by one or more of these men,” they said in a news release.
LAPD Capt. Stacy Spell said officials could not provide additional insights into the nature of the case due to the ongoing investigation. An LAPD source said the investigation is heavily focused on Pearce.
It was not immediately clear what drugs, if any, were found in the women’s systems. Detectives have not confirmed why Pearce’s actions may have resulted in his arrest for manslaughter, or who supplied the drugs involved. The Los Angeles district attorney’s office has yet to file charges.
None of the men could be reached for comment Thursday.
The suspects appear to have some ties to the entertainment industry. According to IMBD, Osborn, an actor from Staten Island, played a New York stockbroker in the 2017 comedy, “Obamaland Part 1: Rise of the Trumpublikans.”
His credits also include an acting role in a 2014 episode of the TV show “Nurse Jackie” and working in the sound department for a short called “Ruse” in 2012. Osborn was arrested while working on “NCIS: Los Angeles,” an LAPD source told The Los Angeles Times, noting that the fugitive team waited for him to go to lunch and arrested him on Cahuenga Boulevard near the set.
Ansbach, also a native New Yorker, has worked as a cinematographer and camera operator on dozens of Hollywood sets for TV series, according to IMDB. This year, he was credited as camera operator for two episodes of “Pet Stars,” and last year was cinematographer for three episodes of “Sleeping with Friends,” a TV miniseries.
He has also worked as a cameraman on “Vanderpump Rules” and “Amazing Race.”
The two women had forged a friendship after Arzola moved to Los Angeles earlier this year, Cilliers said. Arzola studied architecture in Mexico and was working as a project manager before her death.
“She was a fighter and a giver until her very last breath,” her family wrote on a GoFundMe page created for medical, funeral and travel expenses. “As per her family’s wishes, parts of her will be donated as precious gifts of life to those in need.”
Her family did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
A GoFundMe page has also been set up for Giles’ funeral costs and private investigation expenses.
According to sheriff’s records, Pearce was being held in lieu of $1 million bail. Ansbach and Osborn were being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
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