Separate killings of Lincoln Heights women are related, police say

The killings of two Lincoln Heights women whose bodies were discovered near freeways have been linked through forensic evidence, prompting police on Tuesday to announce a $50,000 reward in the hopes that someone will come forward with information.

The body of Michelle Lozano, 17, was found April 25, 2011, along Interstate 5 near the Cesar Chavez Avenue exit, Los Angeles Police Capt. William Hayes said at a news conference.


Lozano was last seen the day before at about 4 p.m. on North Broadway near Lincoln High School in Lincoln Heights, said LAPD Det. Jay King.

Lozano was found in a container in the brush about 11:30 p.m. Investigators determined her body had been wrapped in plastic bags and stuffed in the container.

L.A. County coroner's officials concluded that Lozano died from asphyxia by strangulation.

Months later, on Jan. 26, 2012, Bree'Anna Guzman's body was found along the Riverside Drive on-ramp to the 2 Freeway. Initially, investigators listed Guzman as a Jane Doe due to the state of her remains.

Guzman was last seen about 7:55 p.m. on Dec. 26, 2011, after she told her mother she was going to get cough drops at a Rite-Aid near Ave 26 in Lincoln Heights. Her family reported the mother of two missing the next day.

Investigators initially thought the cases could be related, but didn't have any confirmation until recently, when detectives identified additional forensic evidence linking the killings, Hayes said.

Police said they do not have a suspect or a vehicle description and are hoping that the public will come forward with information.

"My biggest concern is I have no eyewitnesses to this," Hayes said.

On Friday, two $50,000 rewards were renewed by the Los Angeles City Council. Gil Cedillo, who sponsored the rewards, called the crime "horrible."

"There's no sense of closure, no sense of justice," he said.

Darlene Guzman said her daughter, Bree'Anna, liked to cook and had dreams of becoming a pastry chef.

"She was loved by so many people," she said at the news conference, where she wore a pink shirt featuring her daughter's photo.

The last time she saw Bree'Anna, she had said she was feeling sick and was headed to a local Rite Aid.

"She was going to be right back," Darlene Guzman said.

Anyone with information is asked to call King or Det. Frank Carrillo at (213) 486-6890.

Twitter: @nicolesantacruz