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Man Arrested After Girlfriend Found Dead In Her Car

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L.A. County Sheriff's Dept. deputies arrested a 49-year-old man after his girlfriend was found dead in her car in Monrovia on Sunday.

Authorities arrived around 4 p.m. at a home located on the 200 block of Mauna Loa Drive after they received a call from the family of Joel Velasquez with concerns about his and his girlfriend's welfare, NBC Los Angeles reported. They found Velasquez in the backyard, and discovered his girlfriend's body in the car that was parked in the backyard.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reported that Velasquez was arrested and booked on suspicion of killing his girlfriend. Ed Winter, a spokesman for the L.A. County Dept. of Coroner, identified her as 49-year-old Alice Medina-Kaplan.

Velasquez's mother, Maria Cortes, told KCAL 9 that she contacted authorities after she received a series of strange text messages and phone calls from her son. She said he told her he hurt himself by cutting his arms, and that it was too late for his girlfriend.

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“I guess she drank a beer or something or had some drinks and she just like really lost it," Cortes said. "He was trying to make her quiet. I guess he choked her."

Cortes didn't believe that the LASD was acting quickly enough when she contacted them, so she called the KCAL 9 newsroom and they connected her with authorities. Deputies later confiscated Cortes' phone to use as evidence since her son sent her text messages.

A neighbor, who did not want to be identified, told NBC Los Angeles that when deputies arrived at the scene, she heard the boyfriend yelling, "I just lost it, I just lost it."

Initially, sheriff's said in a press release that the woman died from strangulation. However, they later said that the cause her death is currently unknown as detectives are still investigating the death. An autopsy is pending.

Medina-Kaplan's father, Raymond Medina told KABC that his daughter suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and had been living in her SUV in his backyard because he didn't trust her living in his home. Medina said his daughter was violent to him and his wife after Median-Kaplan left a rehab facility and refused to take her medication. Medina-Kaplan's boyfriend also suffered from a mental illness and the couple had just been dating for a couple of months, her father said. Winter said that the couple reportedly had been living together in the car.

"When she was little, we used to joke around," Medina tearfully told KABC about his daughter. "She used to like to dance. She danced by herself. We took her to some dances and always watched her."

Velasquez is being held on $1 million bail and will be arraigned in Pasadena Superior on Tuesday.

Anyone with information was asked to contact the LASD Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500.

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