LOCAL L.A. Now

'Vampire face-lift' clients urged to come forward after woman dies

Homicide detectives continued their investigation Friday into the death of a Long Beach beauty salon client who died after undergoing a cosmetic procedure and warned other potential victims to contact police.

Authorities allege 45-year-old Sandra Perez Gonzalez was renting space at Areli's Beauty Salon in the 2100 block of Pacific Avenue under the pretense of giving massages, but instead provided rear-end and lip augmentation and "vampire face lifts"--a procedure in which a person's own blood cells are injected into their face--without a license.

She was arrested Thursday, one day after officers found 36-year-old Hamilet Suarez of Long Beach at the salon in cardiac arrest. Suarez was taken to a hospital, where she was pronounced dead.

Officers were initially told that Suarez went to the salon for a massage but "went into medical distress" before it began, police said in a statement.

Detectives began investigating after they started receiving conflicting information. Inside the treatment room, detectives found medical equipment and multiple vials of controlled substances allegedly used for the medical procedures.

Gonzalez was not licensed to conduct the medical procedures or administer any of the controlled substances found at the facility, but it appeared she had been performing the procedures at the location for about a month, Long Beach police said.

The California Medical Board has since joined in the investigation.

Although it was unclear which medical procedure Suarez allegedly received, police say it involved part of her body being "augmented by injection."

"We can confirm that the female who did pass ... did receive a cosmetic medical procedure ... in getting a certain part of her body augmented by injection," police Sgt. Megan Zabel told KTLA-TV.

While Gonzalez was arrested on suspicion of possessing controlled substances, police called Suarez's death "suspicious" and said the investigation remained ongoing and more charges could follow.

Coroner's officials on Friday were still trying to determine how Suarez died.

Police urged anyone who may have been treated by Gonzalez to contact homicide detectives at (562) 570-7244.

Gonzalez's bail was increased Friday from $10,000 to $2 million. She is expected to be arraigned next week.

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Twitter: @aribloomekatz | Facebook

ari.bloomekatz@latimes.com

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