A woman whose body was found face down in the sand in Newport Beach faced prostitution charges in three states and gave birth shortly before a stint in jail, according to public records and interviews.
Tina Hoang, 20, was arrested on suspicion of prostitution-related crimes in California, Nevada and Florida, court papers show.
The Bellflower resident, who died under circumstances that Newport Beach police termed "suspicious," was arrested as recently as December on suspicion of prostitution and had at least a dozen open cases against her in Orange and Los Angeles counties, her attorney said.
"I just read the horrible news this afternoon," Tustin lawyer David Nisson said shortly after police released two photographs of his client, revealing a tattoo of flowers and stars on the right side of her face. "She was a very nice girl. I was just very shocked to hear that."
Nisson said he last saw Hoang, who is of Vietnamese descent, Feb. 26, the day before her release from Orange County Jail, where she had been booked following an arrest on suspicion of loitering to commit prostitution in Anaheim.
She gave birth in January, according to her attorney.
"I feel so terrible for her baby," he said, adding that he did not know who was caring for her child. "I almost feel guilty because I helped her get out of jail."
Hoang spent a good deal of time in the criminal justice system, according to Nisson, police and court records. However, many of the cases remain open, according to the court records, and the Daily Pilot could confirm only one conviction — for prostitution in March 2012 in Las Vegas.
However, she was arrested multiple times in 2011 and 2012 in Las Vegas on suspicion of prostitution, trespassing, and loitering in and entering a casino as a minor, according to Laura Meltzer, a spokeswoman with the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department.
Hoang also had charges pending against her on three prostitution-related arrests made in Anaheim between August 2011 and December 2012, according to the Anaheim city attorney's office.
She was expected to face prostitution charges Friday in a Van Nuys courtroom as well.
And in Florida, Hoang was arrested in Miami-Dade County on suspicion of solicitation Nov. 17, 2012, records show.
Newport Beach police aren't saying whether they suspect Hoang was murdered. They said they are awaiting the results of toxicology and an autopsy.
Her body, which was described as slim and 5 foot 2, was found about 6 a.m. Monday near Lifeguard Station 71, which is on a quiet stretch of upscale West Newport.
In the meantime, detectives are seeking the public's help. Anyone who may have seen Hoang before her death is asked to call (800) 550-NBPD. Anonymous tips are OK.