LOS ANGELES — The mother of a 9-year-old girl whose body was found stuffed in a duffel bag along a suburban horse trail near Los Angeles earlier this month has been charged with murder, prosecutors announced.
Taquesta Graham, 28, was charged Wednesday in the death of Trinity Love Jones. She will be arraigned on a single count of murder, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.
Graham and her boyfriend, 38-year-old Emiel Hunt, are accused of killing Trinity Love Jones earlier this month, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Graham has been in custody since March 8, but she was booked Monday on suspicion of murder, a sheriff’s news release stated.
The two suspects were both initially detained at a border crossing in Texas on March 8, and Graham was arrested on suspicion of an unrelated warrant, KTLA reported. Hunt was released and drove to back to California, where he was arrested the following day in a parking lot near San Diego International Airport, according to the release.
Hunt has also been charged with murder in Trinity’s killing. His arraignment is set for April 16.
On March 5, a park worker found Trinity at the bottom of an embankment in the suburb of Hacienda Heights. She had been wearing pants with a panda pattern and a pink shirt that said, “Future Princess Hero.”
Detectives believe Trinity’s body had been there since the afternoon of March 1, the day it appears she was killed, according to the Sheriff’s Department.
A cause of death has not yet been released.
The suspects and victim were believed to have been homeless for approximately 10 months prior to the homicide, after the trio moved out of a family member’s Long Beach home last May, the release stated. They were living out of their vehicle or of a motel in Santa Fe Springs during that time.
Both suspects have a criminal record.
Graham was convicted of enticing a minor female for prostitution in 2009 and is a registered sex offender, information from the Megan’s Law website showed.
Hunt was convicted of child abuse in 2005 and spent at least 10 years in prison, according to a criminal complaint and a sheriff’s detective.
If convicted in Trinity’s killing, Graham faces a possible maximum sentence of 26 years to life in prison, while Hunt could be sentenced to up to 55 years to life in prison, prosecutors said.
The Sheriff’s Department is still seeking information in the case, and anyone with information is asked to call the Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tips can also be left by dialing 800-222-8477, or by going to the website http://lacrimestoppers.org.AlertMe