Mother of girl found in duffel bag near LA charged with murder
The mother of a 9-year-old girl whose body was found in a duffel bag outside Los Angeles now stands charged with murder, prosecutors said Wednesday.
Taquesta Graham, 28, made a brief court appearance in Los Angeles County Superior Court in Pomona. Her arraignment was postponed until April 16. She is being held without bail at the Century Regional Detention Center in Lynwood, according to jail records.
It was unclear whether she has legal representation.
Graham and her boyfriend, Emiel Hunt, 38, are accused of killing Trinity Love Jones on March 1, according to a criminal complaint. Trinity’s body was found a few days later along an equestrian trail in Hacienda Heights.
Workers cleaning brush along the discovered the girl’s head and upper body protruding from a partially zipped black duffel bag.
The case remains under investigation and authorities are asking that anyone with information come forward.
Hunt also faces a murder charge. In 2005, he was convicted of child abuse with great bodily harm in San Diego County, the complaint says. The previous conviction could mean a stiffer sentence if he’s convicted in Trinity’s killing, according to court records.
Graham, who was extradited from Texas as investigators prepared the criminal case against her, also has a prior record. She was convicted in 2016 of enticing a minor for prostitution in San Bernardino County, the complaint says.
If convicted, Graham and Hunt face a maximum penalty of life in prison.
On March 8, they were stopped at a border patrol checkpoint in Hudspeth County, Texas. Graham was arrested on an unrelated warrant, and Hunt was released and continued driving back to California, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
Hunt was arrested March 9 after police found him sleeping in his car in a parking lot near San Diego International Airport, the sheriff’s office said.
Hunt was charged with one count of murder, and his bail was set at $2 million. His arraignment was continued to April 16. A public defender will be assigned to represent him.
Investigators have learned that 10 months ago Hunt and Graham moved with Trinity from a family member’s home in Long Beach — 15 miles from where her body was found.
Since then, the extended family had seen or heard from the three only on a few occasions, and investigators discovered they had been living in their car or in a motel in Santa Fe Springs, about a 10-mile drive from Hacienda Heights, the sheriff’s department said.
There were no open or active Department of Children and Family Services cases involving Trinity when she was killed, according to the sheriff’s department.