Two female models have been reportedly found dead in their luxury apartments in downtown Los Angeles within the last week, sparking an investigation from authorities who have not confirmed if any link exists between the two deaths.
Authorities discovered Maleesa Mooney, 31, an aspiring model and real estate agent, dead in her apartment on September 12, leaving family members grieving and authorities searching for a suspect.
“When a week went by, we just knew something was off,” Bailey Babb, Mooney’s cousin, told KTLA. “Her messages weren’t delivering, and we knew something was up because we all have a special relationship with Maleesa.”
Authorities have reportedly launched a murder investigation into Mooney’s death.
According to a news release from the LAPD, Mooney’s exact cause of death remains unknown pending results from a post-mortem examination conducted by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.
Police authorities have asked the public for assistance in identifying the person or people responsible for her death.
Two days earlier, authorities found 32-year-old model Nichole Coats, whose death prompted members of her family to tell local media they believe she was murdered.
“I couldn’t recognize her,” May Stevens, aunt, said, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I believe it was murder, I really do. One of her legs was up in the air in a kicking position. That’s not somebody who just laid in their bed and died.”
Coats’ death is not being investigated as a homicide, according to the LAPD and the L.A. County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
On Saturday, LAPD Officer Drake Madison said that he has “no idea” about the circumstances of Coats’ death and that “we had no information of any type of homicide or anything. We couldn’t find anything on that. … It could be anything.”
Lt. Ricardo Lopez of the L.A. County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner said it is under “active investigation,” adding, “The cause of death is deferred, so we don’t have any cause of death to give you at this time. … That’s subject to change, but at this time, no.”
Coates’ cousin, Sheniya Mason, told ABC7 she wants to know if there is a correlation between the deaths of the two females.
“We just want to know what happened … It just doesn’t seem right … Is there a correlation between these two females?” she said. “Is there a correlation? They were both almost in the same area … we need to make sure that this isn’t something else because it just didn’t seem right.”
In recent years, critics have blamed Los Angeles District Attorney George Gascon for what they say are soft-on-crime policies that allow criminals to walk free despite serious criminal histories.
Last week, an alleged gang member on probation for attempted murder killed two sisters and their friend when he crashed into their Uber at up to 100mph over the weekend, police said Wednesday.