Arrest Made In The Murder Of Two Teenage Girls Found In Debs Park
Police have arrested a 17-year-old boy in connection with the murder of two teenage girls in Debs Park last October.
The bodies of Briana Nicole Gallegos, 17, and Gabriela Calzada, 19 were discovered by a woman walking her dog near a hiking trail in Ernest E. Debs Regional Park in Montecito Heights on October 28. Investigators said the cause of death was blunt force trauma.
Police announced the arrest at a town hall meeting in Montecito Heights last night, but have not released the name of the person who has been arrested, the Eastsider reports. The names of juvenile suspects are not usually released, unless they are charged as an adult. Police also said that there are more suspects who have not yet been arrested, according to KTLA.
In November, police served several search warrants in multiple locations, as well as detained numerous people, but no arrests were made. At the time, LAPD Lt. Sam Arase said that the search warrants also possibly included DNA swabbing.
Now, the mother of the 17-year-old boy tells KTLA that her son was one of the people detained in November, and that authorities swabbed his mouth for DNA then and he was ruled out as a suspect.
“I walked out of the station with him,” she told KTLA.
She maintains that her son was friends with the two girls, but did not murder them. She said he was arrested on Tuesday as he came home from school, and is now locked up in a juvenile facility in Sylmar.
There will be a press conference later today in which the LAPD will discuss the case further, according to City News Service.
According to a youth case manager at nonprofit Aztec Rising, the two women knew one another. Calzada was about to begin a training program to become a Certified Youth Firefighter, and Gallegos was a cheerleader at her school.
Update, 11:45 a.m.: Police have revealed the identities of two teenagers believed to be the alleged suspects. Jose Antonio Echeverria, 18, and Dallas Stone Pineda, 17, were both been charged with capital murder today. They will be arraigned later today in downtown Los Angeles.