Drugs, texts and left for dead: Untangling the final hours of an L.A. model and architect
On a Saturday morning just before dawn, a model and an architect texted back and forth from inside a stranger’s townhouse on Olympic Boulevard.
It was time to go home, the two women agreed. The long night had started hours earlier at a party miles away. One of them called an Uber, but neither would make it to their destination.
Several hours later on Nov. 13, a group of masked men in a plateless Toyota Prius dumped the model — later identified as 24-year-old Christy Giles — at Southern California Hospital in Culver City. She was unconscious at the time and was soon pronounced dead.
Shortly after, the architect, Hilda Marcela Cabrales Arzola, was dumped at a separate hospital, Kaiser Permanente West Los Angeles. Her body was cold, her family said, and she spent several days in critical condition and on life support.
Arzola died Nov. 24 after being pronounced brain-dead, her family said. It was five days before her 27th birthday.
Christy Giles, 24, and Hilda Marcela Cabrales Arzola, 26, both died under suspicious circumstances in November.
Authorities and family members believe the women were given an overdose of drugs at the house on Olympic Boulevard, where they went after leaving a party at a warehouse on the Eastside of L.A.
Police have arrested three men in connection with the case: David Pearce, 37, was arrested on suspicion of manslaughter, while Brandt Osborn, 42, and Michael Ansbach, 47, were arrested on suspicion of accessory to manslaughter.
The men appear to have ties to the entertainment industry, working in various roles as actors, cameramen and directors. According to property records, Pearce lived at the house on Olympic Boulevard.
The arrests come amid a string of deadly overdoses of people connected to the industry, including the September death of comedian Fuquan Johnson and two others at a home in Venice.
In July, 23-year-old actor Daniel Mickelson died of fentanyl and cocaine toxicity after an accidental overdose. In November, a second man pleaded guilty for his role in supplying counterfeit oxycodone pills with fentanyl to rapper Mac Miller, who died of an overdose in 2018 at -age of 26.
Officials would not immediately confirm what drugs were found in the women’s systems, or what role the suspects may have played.
All three were taken into custody by the Los Angeles Police Department-FBI Fugitive Task Force and Metropolitan Division on Wednesday. Osborn was arrested while working on “NCIS: Los Angeles,” an LAPD source told The Times.
Based on the investigation, police are “concerned that there could be other victims in our community who could have been drugged by one or more of these men,” they said in a news release.
The Los Angeles district attorney’s office has yet to file charges. None of the men could be reached for comment Thursday.
Three people died early Saturday morning in Venice after overdosing, reportedly on fentanyl-laced cocaine.
Giles’ husband, Jan Cilliers, said on the phone he was “relieved” that arrests had been made after the sudden loss of his wife.
“But it’s not a big relief — I know that this is just the beginning of the fight,” he said.
Cilliers described Giles as loving, kind and “the biggest defender of everybody that she loved.”
“That’s part of the reason I’m staying so strong, because I know if the roles were reversed she would absolutely be doing this for me,” he said.
Her family said in a statement that they were hoping for justice for both women, and were grateful that arrests had been made.
The two women had forged a friendship after Arzola moved to Los Angeles earlier this year, Cilliers said.
Arzola studied architecture in Mexico and was working as a project manager before her death, according to an employment profile. She graduated from the University of Monterrey in Nuevo León, Mexico, at the top of her class in 2019 and was focused on interior design.
“She was a fighter and a giver until her very last breath,” Arzola’s family wrote on a GoFundMe page created for medical, funeral and travel expenses. “As per her family’s wishes, parts of her will be donated as precious gifts of life to those in need.”
Her family did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Some prosecutors are pursuing murder charges for dealers linked to fentanyl deaths. But a public defender said such moves are outside the scope of the law.
LAPD Capt. Stacy Spell said officials could not provide additional insights into the nature of the case due to the ongoing investigation.
A source at the department said the investigation is heavily focused on Pearce, and that the two other suspects were swept into the case for allegedly helping him dump the women at the hospitals. According to booking records, Pearce was arrested on suspicion of voluntary manslaughter.
Detectives have not confirmed who may have supplied the drugs involved. The LAPD source said the women did not know the suspects prior to the night of the party.
According to IMBD, Osborn, an actor from Staten Island, played a New York stockbroker in the 2017 comedy, “Obamaland Part 1: Rise of the Trumpublikans.”
His credits also include an acting role in a 2014 episode of the TV show “Nurse Jackie” and working in the sound department for a short called “Ruse” in 2012.
Ansbach, also a native New Yorker, has worked as a cinematographer and camera operator on dozens of Hollywood sets for TV series, according to IMDb. This year, he was credited as camera operator for two episodes of “Pet Stars,” and last year was cinematographer for three episodes of “Sleeping with Friends,” a TV miniseries.
He has also worked as a cameraman on “Vanderpump Rules” and “Amazing Race.”
According to sheriff’s records, Pearce was being held in lieu of $1-million bail. Ansbach and Osborn were being held in lieu of $100,000 bail.
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