A massage therapist, who allegedly also performed non-surgical cosmetic procedures for which she was not licensed, was booked on suspicion of murder in the death of a client who went into cardiac arrest at a Long Beach salon, police said Wednesday.
Sandra Yaneth Slaughter, also known as Sandra Perez Gonzalez, was initially arrested on suspicion of possession of controlled substances following the Feb. 12, 2014, death of 36-year-old Hamilet Suarez of Long Beach, but was released without being charged.
After further investigation of the case, Slaughter was arrested on Tuesday and booked on suspicion of murder, Long Beach police said. The 48-year-old Long Beach resident was being held at the Century Regional Detention Facility in Lynwood in lieu of $2 million bail, according to sheriff's inmate records.
Suarez went into cardiac arrest at Areli's Beauty Salon at 2113 Pacific Ave. -- where Slaughter rented space -- and was pronounced dead after being taken to a hospital, according to police. Officers were initially told that Suarez went to the salon for a massage, but went into medical distress before it began, police said.
Due to conflicting information, detectives were called in and learned that Slaughter was renting a treatment room at the salon, where she allegedly advertised that she performed not only massages, but non-surgical "vampire" facelifts as well as lip and butt augmentations, police said.
Inside the room she rented, investigators found medical equipment and multiple vials of controlled substances allegedly used for the facelift and augmentation procedures, according to the LBPD. Slaughter was then a recently licensed massage therapist but was not licensed to do the other procedures or administer any of the substances, according to police, who alleged at the time of her initial arrest that she had "been conducting these medical procedures from this location for approximately one month."
A wrongful death lawsuit was filed on behalf of Suarez's husband and the couple's 5-year-old son in 2015 against the salon and Slaughter, alleging she wasn't licensed to perform medical or cosmetic procedures when Suarez came to her for a cosmetic treatment to augment her buttocks.
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The suit -- filed in Los Angeles Superior Court -- alleges that Suarez went to the salon and was injected with "controlled substances" by Slaughter in a room she rented at the salon to perform her advertised "vampire facelift" services, in which a patient's own blood is re-injected into areas of the skin to treat wrinkles or augment certain parts of the body.
Suarez was healthy before the procedure, according to the lawsuit, which alleged the salon's owner knew Slaughter was performing improper procedures at the salon for about a month before Suarez's death and did nothing to stop her.
Marai Suarez, Hamilet's sister, said life without the loving mother and wife has been hard.
"She was very family oriented, she had a lot of enthusiasm for life," Marai Suarez said.
She also had a warning to others about the risk of cosmetic procedures performed by people who are not licensed to operate.
"Don't do it, its not worth it," Marai said. "It's not worth putting your life at risk just to look better."
Hetty Chang contributed to this report.