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Maid finds body parts scattered around L.A. hotel room, in backpack [Updated]

December 8, 2010 |  6:50 am

Map shows location of the Nov. 29 slaying in purple, as well nearby homicides, in red, since January 2007. Click for more details on The Times’ interactive Homicide Report.

A Pennsylvania couple is wanted in the slaying and dismemberment of a Hollywood man whose body was "cut up into five different parts -- basically his limbs were removed," said a Los Angeles detective.

The body was found in a hotel near downtown Los Angeles' skid row. Los Angeles Police Department detectives are seeking Edward Garcia Jr., 36, and his wife, Melissa Hope Garcia, 25 (also known as Melissa Turner). They are believed either to be in Hollywood or en route to Pennsylvania, said LAPD Det. Kelle Baitx.

A housekeeper at the Continental Hotel discovered body parts in a backpack left behind in the room on Nov. 29. The victim has been identified as 49-year-old Herbert Tracy White.

Additional body parts were found wrapped in blankets underneath the bed, police said, and a knife was recovered in the small hotel room. Baitx said police detectives believed it was a robbery gone wrong.

Continental Hotel representatives declined to comment.

“The crime-scene investigation revealed signs that the suspects were attempting to clean up the scene and attempting to remove the body from the location,” Baitx said.

Investigators used physical evidence left at the scene and witness’ statements to identify the couple.

The Los Angeles district attorney issued a warrant for the couple’s arrest Monday, charging them with capital murder that involved the infliction of torture, according to the arrest warrant. If convicted, they face a possible death sentence or life in prison without the possibility of parole.

[Updated 9:21 a.m.: At least 74 homicides have been reported within two miles of the slaying since January 2007, according to coroner’s data collected for The Times’ interactive Homicide Report.

Those homicides include the Oct. 14, 2009, fatal stabbing of Tommy Jackson, 58, at the same address where White's body parts were found. Jackson was stabbed with two knives following a verbal altercation at a hotel, according to police.]

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-- Nardine Saad

Map: Shows location of the Nov. 29 slaying in purple, as well as 74 other homicides, in red, since January 2007. Credit: Homicide Report

Click to visit The Times' interactive Homicide Report

[Update : At least 24 homicides have been reported within two miles of Monday’s shooting since January 2007, according to coroner’s data collected for The Times’ interactive Homicide Report. Link to: http://projects.latimes.com/homicide/map/. ]
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