Orange County

Death of Girl Whose Body Was Found in Duffel Bag Ruled Homicide

Scores of people held a vigil Thursday night for the girl

The death of a girl whose body was found stuffed in a duffel bag off an equestrian trail in Hacienda Heights, California was ruled a homicide, sheriff's officials said Friday.

The girl, who hasn't been identified, is believed to be between ages 8 and 13. She was found by County workers Tuesday morning on an equestrian trail, said Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Scott Hoglund.

Authorities didn't know who she was and said there were no obvious signs of trauma.

They reached out to the local school district but it didn't appear that she went to school there. A sketch depicting the girl — described as African American, 4 foot 5 inches tall and weighing 55 pounds — was released during a news conference Wednesday.

The sketch shows her wearing a pink long-sleeved shirt that read, "Future Princess Hero" and panda patterned pants.

Investigators believe the body was dumped down an embankment south of Colima Road sometime between Sunday night and the morning the body was found.

The body was found partially stuffed inside a black rollaway-type duffel bag, the upper portion of the body protruding from the bag, officials said.

Detectives don't know if the girl was dead or alive when she was put in the bag.

Scores of people held a vigil Thursday night for the girl.

Singing "He's got the whole world in his hands," they gathered near where the body was found.

"This little girl is now part of this community," said Marlene Contreras, one of the vigil organizers.

Joseph Contreras, 11, was out Thursday night paying his respects to the unidentified girl. "I feel lots of sadness about her," he said.

Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the Sheriff's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500, or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS.

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