Police investigating deaths of two aspiring models in apartment buildings days apart

Police said it’s ‘too early to tell’ if the deaths are connected

Graig Graziosi
Tuesday 19 September 2023 11:37 BST
Related video: Two models found dead in LA apartments days apart

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Louise Thomas

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Police in Los Angeles are investigating after two aspiring models were found dead in apartment complexes just days apart.

One of the deaths has already been ruled a murder, while the second is still under investigation.

Police said it was too early to say if the cases are connected, according to ABC News.

Maleesa Mooney, 31, was killed on 12 September. Police found her around 3.45pm PST by officers responding to a welfare check at her apartment. That death is being investigated as a homicide, according to the broadcaster, citing an LAPD spokesperson.

“The investigation revealed that Maleesa Mooney had been murdered inside of her apartment. Maleesa Mooney’s exact cause of death is unknown, pending a post-mortem examination which will be conducted by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office,” police said in a statement on 15 September.

Nichole "Nikki" Coats, 32, was killed on 10 September. Her cause of death is "undetermined" at this point, but a homicide investigation may begin following the LA County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner report.

Ms Mooney's family held a rally in LA on Sunday evening demanding justice for the woman's death.

The woman's sister, Jourdin Pauline, told an ABC News affiliate that her family became concerned after multiple failed attempts to get in touch with her.

"We're supposed to grow old together," Ms Pauline told KABC. "That's not supposed to happen to her."

Maleesa Mooney, 31, left, and Nichole ‘Nikki’ Coats, 32, both aspiring models, were found dead in Los Angeles only three miles and two days apart
Maleesa Mooney, 31, left, and Nichole ‘Nikki’ Coats, 32, both aspiring models, were found dead in Los Angeles only three miles and two days apart (Jourdin Pauline/Instagram & Nikki Coats/Facebook)

She described her sister as "kind," "genuine," and "loving."

"To have someone do what they did to my sister, to that caliber, is sick. It's demented,” she said.

The LAPD has asked that anyone with information regarding Ms Mooney's death come forward.

Ms Coats' father, Guy Coats, told ABC News that he and his family are "distraught" after learning of her death.

He said Ms Coats was an aspiring model who worked as a sale rep in her daytime hours.

On 12 September, a cousin who had spent time with Ms Coats told Mr Coats that she couldn't get ahold of the woman.

Ms Coats cousin had a key to her apartment and let herself in to see if she was home. She found Ms Coats unresponsive, and said when she touched her she "was like a rock."

The cousin then called 911.

Ms Coats family became suspicious that foul play led to the woman's death after learning that another aspiring model had been killed just days before, only three miles from her apartment.

The family is currently awaiting the coroner's report.

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