As investigators work to learn more about the identity of a little girl whose body was found dumped along a California trail, members of the community where she was discovered came together to honor her short life.
Mourners lit candles and sang “Amazing Grace” after gathering Thursday near the Skyline Trail at Colima Road and Hacienda Boulevard in Hacienda Heights.
They held up an illustrated image of the child, a rendering that would have to do because no one had actual photos of the girl to share. Nor did anyone know the name of the girl whose memory they wanted to preserve, because so far no one has come forward with information about the child found in a suitcase.
“When things like this happen, we need to come together and be a voice for this little girl, especially since she doesn’t have a family,” vigil organizer Marlene Contreras told KCBS-TV. “I think it’s important that she’s everybody’s child here.”
The body of the young girl was found Tuesday, apparently discarded in a black rollaway duffel bag near the trail, police said.
She was black, believed to be between 8 and 13 years old, and stood about 4 feet, 5 inches and weighed 55 pounds at the time of her death, officials said. But her name, the way in which she died and how she came to be left on a hiking trail remained a mystery Friday.
"You don't know what she went through before her life was taken and this is what I thought about, what they had done to her before they took her life,” Georgia Washington told KCBS-TV.
The girl’s death has been deemed suspicious and is being investigated as a homicide, though there were no “obvious signs of trauma to the victim’s body,” Lt. Scott Hoglund told reporters Wednesday.
Hoglund appealed to the public for help, saying police are looking for “any lead.”
When her body was found, the girl was wearing a baby pink long-sleeved shirt with the words “future
princess hero” written across its front. She also wore gray pants with a panda print, but she had no shoes, police said.
"This one feels like it's one of the worst ones I've ever heard about,” LA County Supervisor Janice Hahn told KCBS-TV. “A little girl stuffed in a suitcase bag, was just devastating to me."
Anyone with information is asked to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500, or Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS.