Homicide detectives are investigating the deaths of three women whose bodies were found at a Hawaiian Gardens home Monday morning, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Two women in their 60s and one woman in her 70s were found at the residence in the 11800 block of 223rd Street after fire officials received a report of someone not breathing, said Melanie Flores, a dispatcher for the Los Angeles County Fire Department.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to the single-story wood-frame home after a female relative who hadn’t heard from the women in a while did a welfare check and found one of the women dead in a bedroom, said Lt. Steve Jauch with the sheriff’s homicide bureau.
Sheriff’s deputies found two other women dead in a detached garage, Jauch said. A car in the garage was running, and the garage door was closed, he said. The women were found on the garage floor.
Three deputies were overcome by a strong chemical odor after opening the garage door and were taken to a hospital, Jauch said. On Monday afternoon, one had been treated and released, and the other two were still being treated, he said. Their condition did not appear to be life threatening, he said.
Investigators were still trying to determine what chemical was present. Jauch said they were not ruling out carbon monoxide.
Authorities have not released the identities of the women because their families are still being notified, Jauch said. The women’s relationship to each other was unclear, but all three were Asian and it appeared they all lived at the residence, he said. The cause of death has yet to be determined.
"At this point, I won't rule out anything," Jauch said when asked if foul play was involved. "It's just too early."
Jauch shared few details about the woman found inside the house. Authorities do not yet know how long the women had been dead.
By early afternoon Monday, a police perimeter surrounded the home and the coroner had yet to arrive. Law enforcement officials had set up a green tent near the home, and five sheriff’s vehicles were parked nearby.
Neighbors gathered outside in the heat to watch the investigation.
Brenda Ochoa, 17, said she was passing by the home on her way to pick up breakfast when police told her she couldn't pass.
Ochoa and another neighbor, Mariana Torres, 15, learned from reporters that three women had been found dead in the home.
"Even though we didn't know them, it's still sad that some of our neighbors have passed away," Mariana said.
Both said they never saw their neighbors, who kept to themselves. An older man used to work on his car outside the home, they said.
"They didn't bug anyone," Ochoa said.