Mother of girl found dead in duffel bag on Calif. trail is accused of murder

KTLA — Homicide detectives on Monday announced they have arrested the mother of a 9-year-old girl whose body was found partially inside of a duffel bag at the bottom of an embankment in Hacienda Heights on suspicion of her daughter's killing.

Taquesta Graham, 28,  was booked Thursday on suspicion of the murder of Trinity Love Jones, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department and county booking records.

"The case is being reviewed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. Charges are expected to be filed on Wednesday morning," sheriff's officials said in a written statement.

Graham has been in custody since March 8, when she and her boyfriend Emiel Lamar Hunt, 38, were detained at a border crossing in Texas.

Hunt was charged with murder on March 12 in connection with Jones' death, while Graham has been held on an unrelated warrant as detectives continued investigating her involvement with the killing, officials said.

County workers discovered Jones' body, which was partially stuffed inside a duffel bag and placed down the side of an embankment along Hacienda Boulevard, south of Colima Road, on March 5, investigators said. Detectives said it appeared she was killed on March 1.

The death was ruled a homicide, but authorities have withheld the girl's specific cause of death, citing the ongoing investigation.

Jones was not formally identified by coroner's officials until March 10, although tipsters had given detectives an idea as to her identity.

After Graham was taken into custody in Texas on March 8, detectives found and arrested Hunt sleeping in his car in the parking lot of San Diego International Airport the following day.

Hunt was not Jones' father. Hunt served more than a decade in prison after being convicted of abusing his own son in 2005, Los Angeles County sheriff's Detective Marc Boisvert said.

Graham is a registered sex offender, according to California's sex offender database. She was of enticing a minor female for prostitution in 2009 and released from custody in 2016, records show.

The suspects and victim were believed to have been homeless, staying in their car and in a Santa Fe Springs motel, in the months leading up to Jones' death, officials said. They moved out of a family member's home in Long Beach about 10 months ago.

Bail for Graham and Hunt has been set at $2 million each. Graham is expected to appear in Los Angeles County Superior Court for an arraignment hearing on Wednesday, records show. Hunt is scheduled for arraignment on April 16.

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