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Murder on the 210? Police stumped by mysterious freeway death

Authorities have not ruled out murder in the mysterious case of a woman who was fatally struck Thursday on the 210 Freeway in Sylmar.

According to witnesses, a red car was being driven erratically when a woman either fell out, was pushed or jumped out of a passenger-side door and was hit by at least two other vehicles before her body came to a rest in the fast lane, said Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Paul Vernon.

The driver of the car never stopped.

“Every minute this person remains at large and unidentified, our suspicions lean toward malice, foul play and murder,” Vernon said.

A witness driving behind the red car told police it swerved left across lanes toward the shoulder, then veered hard right before correcting itself. That’s when the passenger door opened and the woman ended up on the freeway, Vernon said.

“Clearly, something was amiss in the car,” Vernon said. “A struggle? An argument? Pushed? Jumped out? It’s hard to classify her death without knowing the details of what happened in the car.”

The witness pulled over to help.

“That witness made a valiant effort to help this woman,” Vernon said. “She called to her, encouraged her to come out of the lanes, but it happened so fast. There was just nothing anyone could do.”

The first car that struck the woman stopped. Others that subsequently ran over her did not.

“They probably never knew they were running over a body,” Vernon said.

Police have yet to identify the woman. Vernon said she had a tattoo on her neck – a quarter-sized emblem with small script, possibly in a foreign language, running across the front.

The woman was described as white and in her 30s.

“A red car, Sylmar, 1 a.m. and a tattoo – maybe that might jog someone’s memory,” Vernon said.

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Joseph.serna@latimes.com

@josephserna

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