(KTLA) — As Los Angeles police detectives continue to investigate the apparent murder of model Maleesa Mooney, they are grappling with an anomaly from last week’s autopsy report: no clear cause of death.
Mooney, 31, had been bound, beaten, gagged, and wedged inside a refrigerator inside her downtown L.A. apartment. Her body was discovered on Sept. 12 when police conducted a welfare check.
In the autopsy report obtained by KTLA last week, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner listed the cause of death as “homicidal violence” but could not identify a specific injury that clearly took her life.
David Marcinek, LAPD’s lead detective on the Mooney homicide, told KTLA that he has never investigated a case where the coroner listed “homicidal violence” as the cause of death.
Mooney suffered blunt force trauma to her head, torso, and arms with multiple lacerations and contusions, the autopsy report states. She also had cocaine and alcohol in her system.
“The blunt force traumatic injuries observed at autopsy are generally not considered life-threatening on their own,” the medical examiner stated. “However, based on the circumstances of how Ms. Mooney was found, these injuries suggest she was likely involved in [a] violent physical altercation prior to her death.”
Marcinek believes the young model succumbed to a “totality” of her injuries, he said.
Also, Mooney’s family originally told police and the news media that she was two months pregnant at the time of her death. The autopsy report, however, indicated that was not the case. Whether this becomes a material fact remains to be seen.
Detectives, Marcinek says, have received many tips and reviewed security camera video from Mooney’s apartment on South Figueroa Street – but so far none has led to an arrest. He won’t say whether or not they have identified a person of interest but does say this appears to be an isolated incident.
He encourages anyone with information to call LAPD’s Central Bureau Homicide unit at 213-996-4150.