Deaths of 2 models found in downtown L.A. in same week appear to be unrelated, LAPD says

About a dozen people of various ages line up for a photo in front of a residence.
Relatives of Nichole Coats, who was found dead in her downtown L.A. apartment on Sept. 10. Coats’ aunt told KTLA she believed her niece was murdered.

The Los Angeles Police Department said Tuesday there appeared to be no connection between the deaths of two models found in separate luxury apartments in downtown L.A. within the same week.

On Sept. 10, 32-year-old Nichole Coats was found dead inside her apartment in the 700 block of South Grand Avenue, according to an LAPD news release. Her death is not being investigated as a homicide, according to the LAPD and the L.A. County medical examiner’s department. No further information about her death was available Tuesday.

About a mile away, a second model, 31-year-old Maleesa Mooney, was found two days later in her apartment in the 200 block of South Figueroa Street while officers were responding to a radio call for a welfare check, according to the LAPD. Her death is being investigated as a homicide.


Two models have been found dead inside their luxury apartments in downtown Los Angeles within the last week, authorities confirmed Saturday night.

Sept. 16, 2023

The LAPD said in a statement Tuesday there was “no evidence to suggest that the deaths of Ms. Coats and Ms. Mooney are related to one another.” The LAPD is still investigating the cause of death for both women; no further details about the case will be released during the active investigation.

Still, LAPD Officer Tony Im said Tuesday the circumstances of Coats’ death showed nothing “that stood out to us that would make it a homicide, so we need the coroner to do an examination of the body to see what caused the death.”

Coats’ mother, Sharon Coats, told The Times on Tuesday afternoon that she believed her daughter was killed because of how her daughter’s bedroom looked when she was found.

“The bed was covered up and I went over there and I pulled the sheets back and I started screaming because there was blood everywhere,” she said. “I think it was foul play, and I’m not going to rest until I find the killer.”

Sharon Coats last saw her daughter, who was known as Nikki, about two weeks ago when she visited her for four days in Los Angeles. The Lake Forest resident said her daughter had tried to contact her a few days before her death, but she missed her calls. She said Nikki had been getting ready for a trip to Cancún, Mexico.

“She was supposed to go ... with four other friends, and she didn’t make it,” Sharon Coats said. “This is senseless. I’m just glad I was able to see her.”


Coats’ aunt, May Stevens, told KTLA that she also believed her niece was murdered.

“I couldn’t recognize her,” Stevens said, describing Coats’ body. “I believe it was murder, I really do. One of her legs was up in the air in a kicking position. That’s not somebody who just laid in their bed and died.”

Mooney is the sister of Guyanese pop star Jourdin Pauline, who mourned Mooney on social media.

“I keep waking up crying thinking I’m in a bad dream we will get justice for you my sister I promise you won’t be gone in vain!!!” Pauline wrote on Instagram last week. “The people you touched and loved will carry on for you and keep your name alive in the most beautiful and loving light. You did not deserve this at all.”