On Sunday, Denise Williams returned to the little beige house in Pomona where a day earlier she had found her 13-year-old daughter lying on a bedroom floor, dead from apparent stab wounds.
Williams, fighting back tears, walked up to a police officer at the scene. "Have they found who did this?" she asked. But the officer provided no answers to the slaying of Nicolette Hayes, a mystery that some anxious bystanders quietly compared to the unexplained death of tiny-tot beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey.
The only facts police divulged Sunday were basic. The body of Nicolette, a choir girl at the Shield of Faith Church and a much-liked student at Marshall Middle School in Pomona, was found early Saturday. Her mother had left the house for 30 minutes and returned to find her dead, police said.
Det. Louie Hernandez of the Pomona Police Department said there were no signs of forced entry into the house on Dudley Street, no signs of molestation and no suspects. The mother, he said, was ruled out as a suspect in the slaying.
Two younger children were asleep in the room where the body was found, Hernandez said. The mother went into the room "as any mother might, to check on the children when she came home," he said.
Hernandez said police expected a preliminary autopsy report from the county medical examiner's office late Sunday. But he said an investigation into the cause of death could take weeks.