The families of two aspiring models are searching for answers after the women’s deaths in downtown Los Angeles.
The two were found dead just days apart, raising concerns about the safety of those living in the area.
The body of Maleesa Mooney, 31, was found in her luxury apartment on South Figueroa Street on Sept. 12, following a welfare check by officers. Mooney’s family was unable to establish contact with her in the days leading up to the discovery.
The Los Angeles Police Department is now investigating Mooney’s death as a homicide.
Meanwhile, little is known about the case involving a second potential victim, Nichole Coats, who was found dead inside her apartment just two days prior on Sept. 10.
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The LAPD and the L.A. County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner have not yet initiated a homicide investigation in her case, deeming it only as a “suspicious” death.
However, family members of Coats, 32, also known as Nikki, said in an emotional interview with KTLA that she may have been a victim of foul play.
“I couldn’t recognize her,” said May Stevens, Coats’ aunt, describing the condition in which her niece was discovered lifeless in her residence on Grand Avenue. “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.”
Sharon, Coats’ mother, described the scene as gruesome and echoed Stevens’ suspicions. “I’m devastated that it happened to Nichole. This is horrible… it’s like a dream, that my daughter’s going to walk through the door and she’s not. She’s gone.”
“I’m just trying to piece everything together, but I still feel that something fishy is going on,” she added.
Coats’ family is still awaiting the results of a coroner’s report, which may shed light on the circumstances surrounding her death.
A GoFundMe campaign was set up to cover the model’s funeral expenses and had raised $15,000 by Tuesday morning.
The Coats family said they last heard from her on Sept. 7 — the same day Mooney’s family lost contact with her.
Adding to the two families’ distress is the proximity of Coats and Mooney’s apartments, which are located just a five-minute walk apart.
The LAPD has refrained from linking the two cases, emphasizing that it’s premature to make such determinations. The causes of death in both cases remain undisclosed, pending further investigation and autopsy results.
In the meantime, Mooney’s family held a vigil on Sunday night (Sept. 17) to commemorate the model and real estate agent’s life.
Jourdin Pauline, Mooney’s sister, revealed that her sister would have celebrated her 32nd birthday next month.
“We would just be celebrating her birthday instead of this. But, we’re celebrating her life and all the smiles that she gave everyone. Justice for Maleesa. R.I.P. my beautiful princess, Maleesa,” she said.
Mooney’s family also extended condolences to Coats’ family and expressed their hope that these incidents serve as a reminder for people to be more cautious.
“Nothing’s in vain. Learn from everything – learn from this,” said Heather Hammock, Mooney’s aunt. “If it makes you be more cautious… to tell a friend where you’re going. Do something. Don’t just leave on your own please.”
The image above shows (L-R) Maleesa Mooney and Nichole Coats (Credit: Instagram/@jourdinpauline and Facebook/@Sharon Maria Coats Wake)
Two Models Found Dead Days Apart in Downtown Los Angeles
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