El SERENO — The grassy clearing surrounded by shaggy pepper and eucalyptus trees would make for an ideal spot to take a break from a walk through Debs Park. But on Wednesday, this clearing became a crime scene after the bodies of two women were discovered next to a shallow ravine. Two flower-covered crosses, candles and stuffed animals have been set up off a hiking trail as police and the public try to figure out what happened to 19-year-old Gabriela Calzada and another woman identified by friends as 17-year-old Briana Gallegos.
Homicide investigators have not publicly provided much details about the case, with some hesitating to call it a murder. Jose Ramirez, head of the homicide unit at the LAPD Hollenbeck Division, said detectives are once again interviewing people this weekend who knew the two women. The county coroner is scheduled to perform an autopsy on Calzada on Sunday to determined the cause of death, he said.
Here’s a run down of what’s been reported about the incident:
- A woman walking her dog discovered the bodies at about 2:20 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 28 in the southern edge of Debs Park off of Boundary Avenue near the playing fields at Rose Hill Park.
- One officer told The Eastsider that the women’s faces showed possible signs of blunt force trauma while another told a community leader that the women had been beaten beyond recognition.
- Police said the women, who were fully clothed and did not appear to be sexually assaulted, are believed to have been killed in the park not very long before they were found. ABC7
- The women apparently knew each other and were friends on Facebook. Gallegos attended Sotomayor Learning Academies in Glassell Park; Calzada, who was from Pico Rivera, according to her Facebook page, was reported missing Wednesday night after the bodies had already been found. KTLA
- An online fundraiser has been set up for Gallegos. Go Fund Me
- Police have added foot patrols to the park. No suspects have been identified or arrests made. KPCC
- The deaths are not believed to be connected to a man who groped two women in a different section of the park last year. L.A. Times
- Detectives at the LAPD’s Robbery Homicide Division said the Debs Park deaths do not appear to be connected to the unsolved murders of two Lincoln Heights women in April 2011 and January 2012. KTLA
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