Last Tuesday, county workers maintaining a horse trail in the scrubby hills east of Los Angeles noticed a black bag at the bottom of an embankment with something pink sticking out of the top. A few hours later, Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies revealed with horror what they'd found inside: A child's body.
The girl stuffed into the bag was between 7 and 10 years old, police said, and she was wearing a pink T-shirt emblazoned with the words "Future Princess Hero." Authorities begged the public for help in identifying her. "We don't have any idea who this child is," Lt. Scott Hoglund told the Los Angeles Times.
Now, the police do know who she is -- and they say she was murdered.
Late on Sunday, the Los Angeles County Coroner's Office identified the girl as Trinity Love Jones, age 9. Coroners classified her death as a homicide.
Two "persons of interest" in the case have been detained, the sheriff's office said in a release, while police are "are actively continuing their investigation." It's not clear exactly how police identified the girl, but they credited an "overwhelming response from the news media and tips received from the public."
After her identity was confirmed, Jones's relatives gathered at a makeshift memorial that had popped up along the roadside near where her body was found, according to KTLA. A mountain of stuffed animals, pink, red and white balloons and handwritten signs marked the spot.
"Words can't explain what I'm feeling right now," Antonio Jones, who said he was Trinity's father, told KTLA. "I just want answers. I just want justice."
Jones described Trinity as "full of character, full of life, full of joy," and told the station that he'd learned of her death earlier that night via a phone call.
The girl's body was found on March 5 around 10 a.m. by workers with Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation. The bag with her remains lay in the brush a short distance from the head of a popular trail through the hills. Police said they weren't sure whether the bag had been tossed from the trail or pushed off the road above the embankment, but they said she'd been there for no more than two days.
Sheriff's officials so far haven't released any details about how she was killed. After discovering her body, Hoglund told the Times that "there were no obvious signs of trauma."
The sheriff's office said it expects to release more information on Jones' death at a news conference later this week. So far, no arrests have been made.
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