Young girl found dead inside duffel bag near California trail identified

Community mourns young homicide victim found in duffel bag off CA trail

HACIENDA HEIGHTS, CA (KCAL/KCBS/CNN/Gray News) - A 9-year-old homicide victim has been identified after her body was discovered partially inside a duffel bag near a California hiking trail, according to investigators.

The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in a Sunday news release the girl has been confirmed to be 9-year-old Trinity Love Jones.

Trinity’s family, including her father, Antonio Jones, held a candlelight vigil at the hiking and equestrian tail in Hacienda Heights, CA, where county maintenance workers discovered the 9-year-old’s body.

Jones says a positive match was made using a family member’s DNA, and the body found had a chipped tooth like Trinity.

The search for the girl’s identity began March 5 after her body was found, dumped down an embankment in a lightly wooded area. She was partially concealed in a black duffel bag, with her upper torso and head protruding from it.

#LA Sheriff's Seek to ID Girl Found Dead in Duffle Bag Near Hiking Trail -Composite Sketch Rlsd- Uninc Hacienda Hts

LA Sheriff Alex Villanueva and Homicide Investigators released a composite sketch of a young girl found dead near a trail in the Unincorporated area of Hacienda Heights on Tuesday, March 5, 2019 at approx. 10:00 A.M. The young girl was discovered down an embankment just south of Colima Rd east of Hacienda Bl. The victim’s body was dumped at the location in between the evening hours on Sunday March 3, 2019 and discovered at 10:00 A.M. on March 5, 2019 by LA County workers who were conducting maintenance on an equestrian trail. The victim was found partially inside a black rollaway type duffle bag, similar to the one pictured, where her upper body was seen protruding. Although preliminary investigation initially led investigators to believe the victim was between the ages of seven and 10 years, further investigation with the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner determined the victim was a Black female between the ages of eight and 13. The young girl was found to be wearing a pink, long sleeve shirt with gray panda print pants (actual clothing depicted). She stood approx. 4 ft, 5 inch. tall and weighed about 55 lbs. No obvious signs of trauma were found on the victim’s body. Sheriff Villanueva stated, “Investigators will spare no efforts to find out what happened.” At this time, the incident is being ruled as a suspicious death. Manner and cause of death will be determined by the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner at a later date. The motive remains unknown. “It’s a horrible tragic case our investigators are working diligently on to solve,” stated Homicide Lt. Hoglund. If you recognize the young girl, or have any information on the clothing, duffle bag, or information surrounding the identity of the victim, you are encouraged to contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. If you prefer to provide information anonymously, you may call "Crime Stoppers" by dialing (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile APP on Google play or the Apple App Store or by using the website http://lacrimestoppers.org. To view the press conference visit: https://www.facebook.com/LosAngelesCountySheriffsDepartment/videos/604628516650110/

Posted by Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department on Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Investigators announced Sunday they have detained two persons of interest in the case, which the coroner ruled a homicide. The 9-year-old’s cause of death is being withheld.

No obvious signs of trauma were found on the victim’s body, according to the sheriff’s department.

Before Trinity was identified, the Hacienda Heights community held a vigil for the young girl.

"This one feels like it's one of the worst ones I've ever heard about. That this little girl was stuffed in a suitcase-like bag was just devastating to me,” said Janice Hahn, supervisor for Los Angeles County.

People from near and far gathered to say every life matters, even if we don’t know who they are.

Rebecca Estrada, 6, attended the vigil and had a message for the victim.

"We would like to care about other people no matter who they are. I'm sorry that you have died, and I'm sorry what happened to you,” Rebecca said.

The investigation into Trinity’s death is ongoing.

The sheriff’s department is expected to hold a news conference Tuesday to release additional information.

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