Long Beach police solved two cold cases in the city -- one involving a young mother shot while retrieving a diaper bag from her car, and another involving the 2009 slaying of a grandmother. Hetty Chang reports from Long Beach for NBC4 News at 5 p.m. on Sept. 12, 2013.
Long Beach police announced on Thursday four arrests in two "cold-case" slayings -- that of a mother gunned down on her son’s third birthday, the other of a Cambodian grandmother who survived the Khmer Rouge regime.
Police arrested two people -- a 16-year-old girl and a 30-year-old man -- in connection with the July 26 slaying of Jazzmine Wash.
Wash was shot and killed when she stepped out of her grandparent's home to grab a diaper bag from a car. She was on her way to Chuck E. Cheese's to celebrate her son's third birthday, police said.
The male suspect was identified as Jason Haggerty, of Long Beach. The girl was not identified because she's a juvenile. Police described them as Wash's friends.
The duo allegedly killed Wash because she was expected to testify against Haggerty in a probation case, Long Beach Police Chief Jim McDonnell said during a press conference.
"Detectives believe that this was the motive for the murder," McDonnell said.
Arrests were also made in connection with the stabbing death of Leam Sovanasy, 76, who was meditating in her home when she was killed on Jan. 31, 2009, in the 1400 block of Peterson Avenue.
Police said the men responsible were believed to have been burglarizing homes and pawning stolen merchandise. Sovanasy's home showed "classic signs of a burglary, with a point of entry being a window," Long Beach police said in a press release.
The men allegedly took her purse which had cash in it.
In July, crucial new clues emerged in the investigation. A $10,000 reward was posted and sketches of two men suspected in the killing were released to the public.
Police connected the men to an early 1990s model white Chevrolet Caprice that was seen in the area around the time of the slaying.
Detectives got a name from a man who called them saying he matched the composite drawing of a suspect in the slaying, police said. Dontae Davis, 24, of Victorville, and Freddie Battle, 25, of Long Beach, face murder charges in the case.
Sovanasy, a Cambodian immigrant who survived the Khmer Rouge regime, was a mother of seven and a grandmother of 20, police said.
One of Sovanasy's daughters, Samantha, told NBC4 her family has been holding their breath for 4 1/2 years, and "now we can finally breathe."
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