In a newly released police sketch, a slim girl in pyjama pants and a “Future Princess Hero” shirt stares out at the viewer.
This is the girl homicide detectives from Los Angeles County, California are trying to identify, after her body was found stashed in a suitcase along a hiking trail.
Police say the body was discovered Tuesday morning by county workers in the city’s Hacienda Heights neighborhood. The girl had been partly hidden inside a black duffel bag with wheels.
“Her upper torso and head were protruding from the open bag,” Lieutenant Scott Hoglund told reporters at a press conference Wednesday.
Investigators say the girl’s remains had been left near the hiking trail less than a day before, and that the victim had died just a few days at most before she was discovered.
“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.
Detectives describe the victim as a thin, African American girl between the ages of 8 and 13, around 4’5”, and say she weighed around 55 pounds. The sketch by a police artist features the actual clothes she was found in: gray pants with panda bears on them and a long-sleeve shirt with “Future Princess Hero” printed on the front.
While homicide detectives are involved, police are calling the investigation a suspicious death. They say there are no signs of trauma on the victim’s body, and are waiting for an autopsy to confirm her cause of death.
Police have already reached out to local schools and missing child organizations, but hope their sketch of the girl will help the public recognize her.
“We don’t have any motive,” Hoglund told reporters.
“We don’t have any reason for why this happened, or how this happened. And that’s the purpose for being here today — to get the public’s assistance and hopefully identify the victim so our investigators can head down that path.”
Hoglund said that even experienced investigators were moved by this “horrible, tragic case.”
“These are the hardest cases to handle–anything involving a child is very sad.”
Anyone with information on the case is urged to call the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.