A nationwide manhunt is underway in search of one or more suspects involved in the tragic deaths of two Los Angeles models within a one-week span.
Of the two dead, one has been identified as Maleesa Mooney, 31, a model and real estate agent who was found dead in her upscale apartment in Bunker Hill Tuesday. Her family called police asking that they conduct a welfare check after they noticed she stopped responding to calls and texts.
“When a week went by, we just knew something was off,” Bailey Babb, Maleesa Mooney’s cousin, told KTLA. “Her messages weren’t delivering and we knew something was up because we all have a special relationship with Maleesa.”
Investigators have not provided details into how she died, but they confirmed that she was murdered.
Three days after Mooney died, police confirmed Nichole “Nikki” Coats had been found dead in her apartment as well. The model, 32, stopped returning calls from her family, prompting them to ask police to conduct a welfare check.
“I couldn’t recognize her,” May Stevens, Nikki’s aunt said. “I believe it was murder, I really do.”
The last time they heard from Coats was on Sept. 8, when she let them know she was going on a date that Friday evening. It was the last time they heard from her.
Both homicides took place less than three miles apart. While Mooney’s case has been considered a murder, Coats’ death has been deemed “suspicious.”
Mooney’s sister described her as a “peacemaker” and “backbone” of her family. Coats’ mother says her daughter “didn’t have any enemies” and was “loved by friends and the community.”
No suspects have been named in either case, and Coats’ aunt believes that “there’s a predator loose.” Her family has set up a GoFundMe requesting for assistance with funeral expenses.
Anyone with information leading to the capture of the suspect/suspects in either case is urged to contact the Los Angeles Police Department at 1-877-527-3247.