Reputed gang members charged in 2001 slaying of 13-year-old girl
Four reputed members of the Mara Salvatrucha 13 street gang have been indicted in connection with a decade-old slaying of a 13-year-old girl whose naked body was found in Elysian Park.
A three-count indictment unsealed Wednesday afternoon accuses Jorge Palacios, 34, Santos Grimaldi, 29, Rogelio Contreras, 34, and Melvin Sandoval, 33, with one count each of kidnapping to commit another crime and special-circumstance murder. Sandoval is also charged with committing a lewd and lascivious act on a child.
The girl had been shot twice in the head when the body was found in a remote area of the park on June 28, 2001, according to the Los Angeles County district attorney's office. The crime was unsolved for nearly a decade until Los Angeles Police Department detectives uncovered new evidence.
The four men pleaded not guilty during an arraignment Wednesday, the district attorney's office said. Their next court appearance will be July 12.
— Robert J. Lopez