Homicide detectives investigate burned body found in Cypress Park
Homicide detectives on Thursday were investigating the grisly discovery of a burned body beneath a freeway overpass in Cypress Park.
The body was found on a city lot outside a Home Depot parking lot next to a day laborer center where workers gather in search of employment.
Los Angeles firefighters were sent to the store in the 2000 block of North Figueroa Street at 1:46 a.m. in response to a rubbish fire, said LAFD Capt. Erik Scott.
“They were able to extinguish the flames quickly,” Scott said. “Afterward they were combing through the burned content and discovered that there was a body.”
Hours later, dozens of day laborers were congregated outside the crime scene as investigators continued their work behind yellow police tape.
“It’s a tragedy,” said Maegan Ortiz, executive director of the Institute of Popular Education of Southern California, the group that oversees the work center. “We’ve checked with our members and don’t think it’s one of them. No one is missing.”
Ortiz said she hoped the incident would not be used to cast a negative light on the day laborer site, whose organizers try to run an orderly program.
The site, located under the 5 Freeway near the Los Angeles River, is surrounded by a number of homeless encampments.
Some workers speculated that the victim might be a young homeless woman in her 30s who slept nearby. She was from Guadalajara and they called her “Huera,” or white girl, because of her light skin.
“She was always coming around. Sometimes she’d use our bathroom,” said Dante Castillo, who’s been coming to the Home Depot lot for almost two years picking up construction jobs.
Officials were unable to provide the woman’s identity, said Los Angeles police Officer Meghan Aguilar.
“We have nothing right now that leads us to believe this person was homeless or was not homeless,” she said.
12:40 p.m.: This article was updated with comments from police and day laborers.
This article was originally posted at 7:50 a.m.
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