A state prison inmate is accused of being the killer of a 19-year-old woman whose decomposing body was found in an ice chest stashed in a stolen car in an unincorporated area near Whittier last year.
Anthony Moreno, 38, is accused of fatally shooting Dawn McEveety of Huntington Beach.
Sheriff's investigators said McEveety was killed at a home in the 11900 block of 183rd Street in Artesia on Nov. 24.
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Deputies discovered the remains five days later inside a 1991 Toyota Celica Hatchback in the 8600 block of Bradwell Avenue when they responded to an "abandoned vehicle" report.
The deputies immediately smelled the strong odor of decomposition. They opened the vehicle and found the body entombed in an ice chest in the rear cargo area.
Moreno was arrested on an unrelated charge sometime after the shooting and sent to prison, authorities said Monday.
Sheriff's officials said Moreno is expected to be transferred to Los Angeles to be arraigned on charges of murder and possession of a firearm.
The District Attorney's Office could not immediately confirm those charges. Investigators believe other suspects may have helped Moreno dispose of McEveety's body and urged anyone with information to call the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477).
McEveety's parents said she was adopted at the age of 16 months from a drug-addicted birth mother, and that their daughter's own drug issues surfaced when she was just 13. They said they believe that she had been living in Artesia and may have been hanging out with gang members.
"She went back with the wrong crowd," said her mother, Maura McEveety. They last saw her in September, when she was serving time at the James A. Musick jail in Orange County for stealing a car and being in possession of methamphetamines.
"She was a wonderful child, and unfortunately she was born with an addiction," Maura McEveety said.