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Woman's Body Found in Trunk of Car

March 05, 2000|SUE FOX and INDRANEEL SUR | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

PANORAMA CITY — The body of an unidentified woman was found in the trunk of a car Saturday at an apartment building parking lot, police said.

The victim may have been a Latina in her early to mid-20s, said Det. Michael Oppelt of the Los Angeles Police Department's Devonshire Division.

Police were called to the apartment complex at 9404 Van Nuys Blvd. shortly after 10:30 a.m. and discovered the body while examining the Nissan Maxima, Police Sgt. Rodolfo Santos said. No license plates were visible on the late-model vehicle.

Residents said the car had been parked next to two dumpsters in the rear of the building since at least Friday morning. Several said they had noticed the driver's door had been left open.

"The door was open. The window was broken. There was blood all over the back seat," said Shaunta Johnson, who lives in an apartment overlooking the parking lot.

Authorities examined the scene for several hours before towing the car, with the body in the trunk, to Ross Baker Towing in Northridge, a designated police garage.

Sgt. Philander Butler of Devonshire Division said detectives generally do not move evidence from a crime scene until they finish investigating. He said that, in this case, detectives decided to tow the car to keep it out of the rain.

"It was done to preserve evidence," Butler said.

As of late Saturday, coroner's officials said the woman had not been identified.

Homicide detectives are investigating the cause of death.

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