Death of Unidentified Girl Dumped in Suitcase Ruled as Homicide

March 9, 2019 Updated: March 9, 2019

Authorities have ruled as homicide the death of an unidentified girl whose body was found in a duffel bag on a hiking trail in Los Angeles County.

Her body is believed to have been dumped a week ago, before being discovered on March 5, sparking an investigation into who she was, and how she died.

On March 7, coroner’s officials announced that her death was a homicide, according to local reports, but her identity remains a mystery.

Earlier this week, authorities released a sketch of the girl, who they described as a “skinny” black girl who weighed around 55 pounds and stood around 4 feet 5 inches tall.

The night before her death was announced as a homicide, dozens of people participated in a vigil, reported CBSLA, near the entrance to the trail where her body was found.

“It breaks my heart, it just breaks my heart,” Marlene Contreras, one of the vigil’s organizers told the station.

An artist’s sketch of the girl whose body was found on a Los Angeles trail on March 5, 2019, released on March 6, 2019. (Los Angeles County Sheriff Department)

“When things like this happen, we need to come together and be a voice for this little girl, especially since she doesn’t have a family, I think it’s important that she’s everybody’s child,” says Contreras.

Her body was found on in Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles County, on March 5.

Former FBI agent Steve Gomez lives in the Hacienda Heights area. He said residents are in shock.

Gomez, who is is not involved in the investigation, thinks it is unlikely she came from the area.

“She’s not immediately recognizable to anybody,” Gomez told ABC. “What it leads me to believe is that this child is probably from an area not immediately near Hacienda Heights. She’s probably from someplace outside of the general Los Angeles area, maybe even another state.”

There were no known motives in the case, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Lt. Scott Hoglund told a news conference on March 6.

“We don’t have any leads. We don’t have any idea who this child is,” Hoglund said, describing it as a “horrible, tragic case.”

The girl was wearing a pink shirt with the words “Future Princess Hero,” along with blue leggings with pandas on them—images of which have been released by authorities.

An artist’s sketch of the girl whose body was found on a Los Angeles trail on March 5, 2019, together with her clothing, released on March 6, 2019. (Los Angeles County Sheriff Department)

“Investigators believe the victim was dumped sometime during the late evening hours of Sunday, March 3, and discovered on the morning of March 5,” Hoglund said.

County workers stumbled across the body, the upper torso of which was protruding from a black roll-away duffle bag, he said.

There were no obvious signs of trauma to the victim’s body said Hoglund.

An image of a duffelbag, taken from the internet, which LA County Sheriff’s Department say is a very similar to the bag in which a girl’s body was found on March 5, 2019. (La County Sheriff)

They are also looking at a security video from a nearby Buddhist temple, according to authorities.

The sheriff’s office said they’re working with the Department of Children and Family Services, along with missing children agencies and surrounding school districts, hoping to find some possible leads.

Unidentified little girl found dead near Los Angeles hiking trail: Officials

Posted by 1310 KFKA on Wednesday, 6 March 2019

“We don’t have any information regarding this victim. We need to identify the victim before we can really launch into our investigation, and that’s what we’re really looking for, is the public’s help,” Hoglund said.

Follow Simon on Twitter: @SPVeazey
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