Two Women Found Dead Off Hiking Trail Identified As Teenagers
The two women whose bodies were found off a trail in Montecito Heights have been identified as two teens.On Thursday, the LAPD identified one of the victims as 19-year-old Gabriela Jennifer Calzada. Police told the L.A. Times that the second victim was 17 years old but were awaiting confirmation from the corner's office before positively identifying her. On Friday, friends of the second victim identified her as Briana Gallegos, according to ABC 7.
The bodies of Calzada and Gallegos were found by a woman walking her dog in Ernest E. Debs Regional Park on Wednesday afternoon, just off a hiking trail. According to investigators, the bodies were fully clothed and did not show any signs of sexual assault, and the possibility of a murder-suicide has been ruled out. The women were possibly killed at the location they were discovered, and their bodies did not appear to have been there for very long. "Based on the fact that it's in the park and we do have wildlife in the park... the bodies don't seem to be touched in that sense," said LAPD Captain Martin Baeza.
LAPD Commander Andrew Smith told the Times that the women died of blunt-force trauma, but the cause of death has yet to be confirmed by the coroner's office.
On Thursday night, a gang interventionist was at Debs Park for a vigil and told KTLA that he was working with one of the women to "try to better her life," but did not say which one.
The grim discovery has been on the mind of Montecito Heights residents. "I work at the local Home Depot," Priscilla Guillen told KTLA, "and everybody's been talking about it."
"It takes away the tranquility of the place," Rosalia Lopez, a regular visitor to the park, told the Times. "You have to be more alert now."
Last year police were on alert when a suspect was targeting and assaulting women in three separate incidents in Debs Park. For now, they do not believe there is any connection to those incidents and the bodies found earlier this week.