Authorities Detain Two Persons of Interest in Death of Girl Found on Trail

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department homicide investigators have detained two persons of interest in the death of 9-year-old Trinity Love Jones, whose body was found last week on a Hacienda Heights hiking trail, authorities said today.

The development came as sherrif's homicide Lt. Scott Hoglund and the coroner's office confirmed the girl's identity.

Investigators did not release further information about the persons of interest.

The announcement follows revelations to reporters Sunday by Trinity Jones' family that she was the girl discovered on Tuesday.

Family members creating a memorial of candles, flowers, balloons, stuffed animals and photos near where the girl's body was found made the identification to media assembled at the scene.

“Words can't explain what I'm feeling right now,” Anthony Jones, Trinity's father, said at the memorial site. “I just want answers. I just want justice. She was just the best -- full of character, full of life, full of joy.”

Jones said he learned of his youngest daughter's death through a telephone call.

The girl's body was located about 10 a.m. Tuesday “partially inside of a black roll-away type duffel bag,” with her head and upper body protruding from the partially zipped bag left at the bottom of an embankment close to Colima Road and the 3400 block of Hacienda Boulevard, near the His Lai Buddhist Temple. Hogland said.

An autopsy was completed earlier this week on the body and determined she was between 8 and 13 years old and described as black, about 4 feet 5 inches tall and weighing about 55 pounds.

The cause of the girl's death was determined to be a homicide, the coroner's office said.

The sheriff's department had released a composite sketch of the girl on Wednesday, along with photos of a pink long-sleeve top with the words “Future Princess Hero” and gray pants with pandas on them that she was wearing when her body was found.

County workers clearing some brush in the area uncovered the youngster's remains.

“It's a sad moment for the department, for the community, and we're going to do our best to figure out what led to the suspicious death of the child involved,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said in a news conference last week. “I've directed the investigators to spare no effort to find out what happened.”

Hoglund said investigators believe the girl was left in light brush adjacent to the equestrian trail in the late evening hours of March 3, about a day-and-a-half before her body was found.

Authorities are seeking help from anyone who saw anything suspicious on Hacienda Boulevard -- including a vehicle pulled over to the side -- during that time frame or recognizes the composite sketch of the girl or the clothing she was wearing.

Investigators do not know if the girl was alive or dead when she was placed inside the bag, Hoglund said.

“The motive at this time is unknown,” Hoglund told reporters.

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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