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Investigators seek help locating granddaughter of woman found dead in her Bell home

Investigators seek help locating granddaughter of woman found dead in her Bell home
Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Mike Rosson and relatives of Sarah Montoya ask for public help in finding her and her four children. She is a person of interest in the death of her grandmother, Paula Montoya. (Erica Evans / Los Angeles Times)

Detectives are trying to locate the missing granddaughter and four great-grandchildren of a woman who was found dead in her home in the city of Bell on July 21.

Paula Montoya, 64,was found dead by police who went to her home after family members did not hear from her for several days.

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Local news outlets reported that Montoya was found wrapped in a blanket.

"Her body was discovered in a way that was suspicious in nature," said Lt. Mike Rosson. "We do not have a cause or mode of death from the Coroner's office at this time."

Investigators said Montoya was last seen July 18 at the residence in the 6600 block of Pine Avenue with her granddaughter, Sarah Montoya, 24, and her four young children.  But family members and police have not been able to locate Sarah Montoya.

Detectives believe the granddaughter and her children were the last to see Paula Montoya alive, and have identified her as a person of interest in the case.

"We got information that Sarah crossed the border into Mexico on the 21st of July, the same morning," said Rosson.

Sarah Montoya is described as Latina with long black hair and brown eyes. She is 4'11" and weighs 130 pounds.  She is believed to be with her daughter, Abagail Rodriguez, and three sons, Joshua, Yosu and Elijah Rodriguez. The children range in age from one to nine.

Sarah Montoya's mother, Julia Isham, made a public plea Tuesday, hoping it would reach her daughter.

"Sarah, first and foremost, we want you to know that your family is behind you 100%," she said. "You need to do the right thing and just come home so we know that you and the babies are safe."

The case will continue to be treated as a suspicious death investigation rather than a homicide, pending results from the coroner's follow-up testing.

"We just want to make sure Sarah and her children are safe," Rosson said, "and we'd like to talk to them."

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