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Boy killed in apparent murder-suicide in Highland Park

July 18, 2009 |  1:55 pm

Los Angeles police investigators have cordoned off a Highland Park house where a young boy was apparently stabbed to death earlier today by a woman, who was also found dead in the home with her wrists slit, authorities said this afternoon.

Earlier this morning, police said that a 5-year-old girl had been stabbed by her mother. But officials at the scene said the child is a boy whose age has not been confirmed. They also said it is not clear what the child’s relationship is to the dead woman.

The woman and child, who have not been identified, were pronounced dead at the scene in the 300 block of Vista Place, a narrow alley across the street from Garvanza Park, said Los Angeles Police Department Officer Rosario Herrera.

Firefighters reported the death investigation to police at 9:37 a.m., said Los Angeles Police Capt. Bill Murphy. Murphy would not say why firefighters were called to the area. Coroner’s officials were removing the bodies this afternoon.

“It’s a brutal scene in there,” Murphy said.

Murphy said he expects the investigation to last throughout the day. He would not say whether the victims had been involved with the county’s department of children and family services. He said county staff were not at the scene.

Neighbor Henry Lemus, 26, a restaurant server’s assistant, said he was shocked when he heard the news. Although he did not know them well, he was aware that a small child lived in the house.
“It’s sad because sometimes we hear that little kid crying,” Lemus said.

Lemus, a father of three, said that if he had realized the victims were in troubled, he would have intervened.
“I wish I could have done something about it,” Lemus said. “I would have gone in and taken that kid away. But it’s too late now.”

Lemus and several other neighbors said they believe that an older woman also lived in the house, possibly with two grown daughters. He and other neighbors did not know the names of the people living there.

Neighbors stood in their driveways this morning as police cordoned off surrounding streets and strung up yellow crime scene tape.

Carlos Mendoza, 39, a bellman at a Hollywood hotel, said he moved to the neighborhood with his wife from Glendale two years ago because he considered it safe.

“It was kind of strange to see something like this,” he said as he walked his dog past several police cars.

Alfred Glen, 46, a father of two, said he has lived in the neighborhood 25 years and was not worried about his family’s safety until today.

“It’s tragic,” he said of the deaths. “I try to shield my family from the news, but then it hits home.”

-- Ari Bloomekatz