Calif. police seek help identifying body of girl found off trail
California authorities are hoping to identify a young girl — wearing a shirt that read “Future Princess Hero” — whose body was found partially inside a large duffel bag.
Police hope someone will recognize the girl, the suitcase or the pink shirt she was wearing when she was found.
The girl, believed to be between 8 and 13 years old, was found Tuesday near an equestrian trail in the Hacienda Heights area, with her head and upper body protruding from the partially zipped roll-away black duffel bag, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Lt. Scott Hoglund told reporters at a Wednesday news conference.
The department released a sketch of the girl, showing her in a pink, long-sleeved top adorned with the words “Future Princess Hero” and pants with a panda print. She was black, about 4 feet, 5 inches tall and weighed about 55 pounds, authorities said.
She was “small in nature,” Hoglund told reporters.
Although the death is suspicious, Hoglund told reporters investigators did not observe any obvious signs of trauma. An autopsy is expected within the next day or two to determine how she died.
Authorities do not know if she was placed in the bag dead or alive, Hoglund said.
“At this point, we don’t have any leads. We don’t have any idea of who this child is,” Hoglund said Wednesday, calling it a “horrible, tragic case.”
The investigation has been ruled a homicide, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Marvin Crowder.
Investigators believe the girl was left late Sunday evening in the light brush next to the trail, and they hope people who might have seen anything suspicious on Hacienda Boulevard, including a car pulled over to the side of the road, will come forward, Hoglund said.
The girl was found at 10 a.m. on Tuesday in the area south of Hacienda Boulevard and Glenmark Drive, just below a Buddhist temple, Sheriff Alex Villanueva told reporters.
“It’s a sad moment for the department, for the community, and we’re going to do our best to figure out what led to the suspicious death of the child involved,” Villanueva said. “I’ve directed the investigators to spare no effort to find out what happened.”
And though police still don’t know her name or who her family is, a vigil was held for the young girl on Thursday, KCAL reported.
“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 here,” said vigil organizer Marlene Contreras.
Anyone with information on the case is urged to call the sheriff’s homicide bureau at 323-890-5500, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.