A coroner’s spokesman said Wednesday he could not comment on a report that one of two young women found dead in a Montecito Heights park had been shot in the head.
Coroner’s Assistant Chief Ed Winter said only that there were concerns about security holds that had been placed on the two cases, and he declined to elaborate.
NBC4 cited the coroner’s office as the source of information that 19- year-old Gabriela Calzada had been shot.
The bodies of Calzada and 17-year-old Briana Gallegos, a Pico Rivera resident and student at Sonia Sotomayor Learning Academies in Glassell Park, were found by a woman walking her dog about 2:20 p.m. Oct. 28 near Mercury and Boundary avenues along a walking path through Ernest E. Debs Regional Park.
Their deaths have been classified as homicides.
Police have said the victims were fully clothed and did not appear to have been sexually assaulted. It was unclear how long the bodies had been at the park before they were found by a woman walking her dog.
LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith previously told City News Service the bodies had evidence of blunt-force trauma, but it’s unclear if that was the cause of death. He said autopsies will have to be performed to determine how the victims were killed.
Citing the security holds imposed by police, Winter declined to say if autopsies had already been performed.
Police last week confirmed that one of the victims — identified in an online fundraising site as Briana — had been reported missing around 9 p.m. Wednesday, about seven hours after the bodies were found.
It was still unclear if the deaths were linked to a series of assaults that occurred in the same park last year. In August 2014, police released a composite drawing of a man wanted for accosting three women who were walking in the park on separate occasions.
According to police, the victim of the first attack on Jan. 13, 2014, was groped by a suspect on a bicycle. On June 25, 2014, a woman was approached by a man riding a green bicycle. The suspect asked her if he could use her cell phone, and then exposed his genitals to her.
On July 20, 2014, a woman was walking her dog when she was approached by a man armed with a knife. The suspect grabbed her by the shoulder and punched her in the face. When she fell to the ground, he stood over her, then ran away.
A 53-year-old woman told the Los Angeles Times last week that she and some friends were working out at the park around 11 a.m. Wednesday and saw two young women who appeared to be in their 20s.
The woman — who declined to give her name — told the paper she and her friends later passed a man along the trail who was wearing a cap and carrying a backpack, and he adjusted his cap and looked away from the women as he passed by.
—City News Service