Woman Sought Cosmetic Op Before Death: Police

Police arrested a massage therapist in the death of a woman at a Long Beach salon

By Hetty Chang
|  Friday, Feb 14, 2014  |  Updated 10:58 PM PDT
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A woman who advertised cosmetic procedures she wasn't licensed to perform was arrested after a client went into medical distress at her beauty salon and died. Hetty Chang reports from Long Beach for the NBC4 News at 5p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014.

Hetty Chang/ Lori Bentley

A woman who advertised cosmetic procedures she wasn't licensed to perform was arrested after a client went into medical distress at her beauty salon and died. Hetty Chang reports from Long Beach for the NBC4 News at 5p.m. on Friday, Feb. 14, 2014.

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Massage Therapist Arrested After Woman's Death

A 45-year-old massage therapist who allegedly provided "vampire" facelifts was arrested Thursday following the death of a woman at a Long Beach beauty salon where the suspect rented a room. Gadi Schwartz reports from Long Beach for the NBC4 News at 11 p.m. on Feb. 13, 2014.
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A day after a 45-year-old massage therapist was arrested following the death of a woman at a Long Beach beauty salon, police revealed more details about the dead woman's last moments.

Sandra Perez Gonzalez of Long Beach was arrested about 12:30 p.m. in the 2100 block of Pine Avenue, according to Long Beach police.

An investigation is underway into her possible involvement in the death of Hamilet Suarez, 36, of Long Beach, (pictured below) who went into cardiac arrest around 12:20 p.m. Wednesday at Areli's Beauty Salon at 2113 Pacific Ave, and died, according to Long Beach police.

Suarez went to see Gonzalez for some type of procedure and not a massage as first reported, police confirmed Friday.

"I can confirm that she was getting a cosmetic procedure," said Sgt. Megan Zabel of the Long Beach Police Department. "She was getting injections to augment a certain part of her body."

Suarez' family told NBC4 that Suarez, who leaves behind a 4-year-old son and a husband, was energetic and healthy.

"The whole family was concerned and shocked," said John Hernandez, a man who identified himself as Suarez' cousin. "I showed up to the hospital, and sure enough she was there on the bed and she was dead."

Hernandez said he wasn't aware Suarez was getting any procedures done.

"That's shocking," he said. "That's something we weren't really expecting that."

Due to conflicting information, detectives were called in and learned that Gonzalez was renting a treatment room at the salon, where she advertised that she performed not only massages, but vampire (non-surgical) facelifts as well as lip and butt augmentations, police said.

But business owners along the Pacific Avenue corridor in Long Beach told NBC4 that Gonzalez's services were known by word of mouth.

"Our clients that come in here every so often (they would talk) about the ability to get the treatment to get enhancements," said Elizabeth Cuellar whose family owns Genesis Gift store, a few doors down from Areli's Salon.

Vampire facelifts are similar to botox.

Plasma from your own blood is taken and injected into your face.

Inside the room Gonzalez rented, investigators found medical equipment and multiple vials of controlled substances allegedly used for the facelift and augmentation procedures, police said.

"We did find several vials of a substance we believe to be a controlled substance based on the way they were packaged and labeled," Zabel said.

Gonzalez is a recently licensed massage therapist but is not licensed to do the other procedures or administer any of the substances, according to police.

According to the Medical Board of California: "There is a tendency for the public, and some in the profession, to view laser treatments, Botox and cosmetic filler injections as cosmetic rather than medical treatments. The use of prescriptive drugs and devices, however, is the practice of medicine, and the same laws and regulations apply to these types of treatments as those driven by medical necessity."

Gonzalez appears to have been allegedly performing these medical procedures from that Long Beach location for about a month, according to a police statement.

Homicide detectives cooperating with the California Medical Board are investigating the case and the Los Angeles County coroner's office is investigating the cause of death, police said.

Anyone who may have received treatments from Gonzalez was urged to call Long Beach police homicide detectives Scott Lasch and Donald Goodman at 562-570-7244.

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