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Couple in Louisiana Arrested in Death of Woman Found in Harbor

Girl, 17, and her male companion are suspected of killing a 56-year-old in her home.

September 16, 2006|Garrett Therolf and David Haldane | Times Staff Writers

Louisiana state troopers Friday arrested a 17-year-old girl and her 21-year-old male companion on suspicion of murdering a Huntington Beach woman whose body was found floating in Newport Harbor this week.

Police said that because the girl is a minor they would not release her name or describe her relationship to the dead woman.

The body of Barbara Mullenix, 56, was found Wednesday wrapped in a blanket off a dock near the Newport Harbor Yacht Club.

Capt. Dan Johnson, a spokesman for the Huntington Beach Police Department, said investigators had been looking for her daughter, also 17. "We've arrested a 17-year-old female juvenile, and we are no longer looking for the daughter," he said.

The girl's companion was identified as Ian Allen of Huntington Beach.

The two were arrested without incident about 4:45 p.m. outside Lafayette, La., by state troopers who saw them driving a 2006 black Ford Ranger, Johnson said. Huntington Beach police had sent out a bulletin describing them and their car, Johnson said.

The couple were on their way to Tampa, Fla., where they had friends, Johnson said.

Allen and the girl had been linked to the crime by evidence found at the home Mullenix shared with her daughter in the Mill Stream Condominiums off Warner Avenue, and by statements from witnesses, Johnson said. Mullenix was divorced.

Police said they found evidence that Mullenix was killed in her apartment.

Detectives from Huntington Beach and Newport Beach would be dispatched to Louisiana to process any evidence found in the car, interview the suspects and prepare for their extradition to Orange County, said Johnson.

Mullenix's body was discovered Wednesday afternoon by a dockworker at the yacht club. Johnson said police believe Mullenix was killed within two days of the discovery of her body. He would neither confirm nor deny a report by Los Angeles' KCAL-TV Channel 9 that she was identified through the serial number found on her breast implants.

There were no signs of forced entry at Mullenix's home. Johnson would not say whether investigators recovered a murder weapon or found fingerprints tied to the case. Ten of the department's 30 detectives were working on the case, he said.

A neighbor said he awoke about 3 a.m. Wednesday to the sound of someone dragging a large object out of Mullenix's apartment and then watched as two people threw it into the back of a Volvo station wagon with a Florida license plate.

He said he did not get a clear view of the object or the individuals.

"It just seemed weird," said Bill Stopher, 52. "I thought they were ditching out on the landlord."

Stopher said he had also witnessed fiery disputes between the mother and daughter involving thrown objects and profanities. The mother, Stopher said, had told him that she sometimes worked as an extra in television shows and movies.

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