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2 Brothers Held in Death of Dismembered Woman

January 26, 2003|Monte Morin and Daniel Yi | Times Staff Writers

Two brothers have been arrested in connection with the death of a woman whose headless and handless body was found Jan. 15 along Ortega Highway near Cleveland National Forest, authorities said Saturday.

Officials said the pair are believed to be the dead woman's teenage sons.

The youths were arrested Friday night at the Mission Grove Gardens apartment complex in Riverside. The Orange County Sheriff's Department confirmed that the arrests had been made, but said all other details would be released at a news conference Monday. Riverside County authorities refused to comment.

"All I will confirm is we have two people in custody," said Jim Amormino, an Orange County sheriff's spokesman. He said he could not discuss the evidence for fear of jeopardizing the investigation.

"The investigators want to do a thorough job the next couple of days before presenting the district attorney with specific evidence," he said. "One thing I can say is that it is a gruesome and bizarre case."

Sightseers spotted the body in a ravine off Ortega Highway east of San Juan Capistrano. The woman had been decapitated and her hands cut off, presumably to conceal her identity. The body parts have not been found.

The body, clad in underpants, was about 150 feet down a cliff below a highway turnout 14 miles east of Interstate 5. Investigators had said they thought it was the body of a white woman in her mid- to late 30s.

Authorities had said that identifying the woman would be a challenge and sought tips from the public. The body lacks scars, tattoos and other identifying marks, investigators said.

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