WEST COVINA — Police jailed to men Friday on suspicion of growing hundreds of marijuana plants inside a vacant home, authorities said.
Nguyen Chu, 54, of Los Angeles and Phu Quan, 49, of Los Angeles were booked on suspicion of cultivation of marijuana, West Covina police Lt. Tommy Garcia said.
Officers received a call shortly before 11 a.m. reporting two suspicious vehicles in the driveway of a vacant home at 544 N. Foxdale Avenue, the lieutenant said.
Officers stopped on vehicle that was leaving the home and arrested the driver, Garcia said. The second suspect was arrested as he was sitting in a car still parked in the home’s driveway.
As police were looking around to make sure no one else was at the vacant home, they noticed about 75 marijuana plants growing in the home’s garage, and another 300-400 plants growing within the home itself, officials said.
Officers then stopped and requested a warrant to continue their investigation, Garcia said.
SANTA ANA — The defense for an accused of killing her infant son by throwing him from the fourth floor of a hospital parking structure argued Friday that she was not mentally competent to stand trial, officials said.
Sonia Hermosillo, 31, of La Habra is charged with murder and child abuse in connection with the Aug. 22 death of her 7-month-old son, Noe Medina Jr., at Children’s Hospital of Orange County.
At an arraignment hearing Friday, she did not enter a plea, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s spokeswoman Farrah Emami said.
“The defense indicated at the hearing today that they believe she is not mentally fit to assist in her own defense,” Emami said.
A mental competency hearing was scheduled Nov. 18 in Santa Ana Superior Court.
Hermosillo was arrested several hours after the incident after police spotted her driving by the scene, officials said.
Noe Medina Jr. suffered from plagiocephaly, known as flat-head syndrome, in addition to congenital muscular torticollis which causes the head to twist to one side.
His mother reportedly suffered from severe post partum depression.
A motive in the killing has not been released.
Her husband, Noe Medina, has reportedly said he believed his wife never accepted their son because of his medical problems.
EL MONTE — The brother of an NBA basketball player is missing after wandering off from a mental care facility in El Monte Sunday, officials said.
John Jude Young, 36, also known as John Elwood Jude, walked away from Mountain View Care, 2622 Mountain View Road, Sunday morning, El Monte police and family members said. He was not prohibited from leaving the facility.
He is the brother of Nick Young, basketball player for the Washington Wizards.
Family members have grown increasingly worried as time passed and sought the public’s assistance in finding John, Nick Young’s assistant, Adrian Pascascio said.
El Monte police received word that the man had possibly been found in Irvine Friday, however Pascascio said it turned out not to be John.
He’s described as black, 6 feet 2 inches tall and 303 pounds.
Anyone with information is asked to call El Monte police at 626 580-2100.
EL MONTE – An elderly man struck and badly injured by a car while crossing the street died Friday, authorities said.
The man’s name was not available Friday pending positive identification and notification of his family, coroner’s officials said.
He was hospitalized at Los Angeles County-USC Medical Center in “very critical” condition after being struck by a car about 5:30 a.m. Thursday near Vane Avenue and Cortada Street, El Monte police Lt. Dan Burlingham said. He succumbed to his injuries Friday.
The driver of the vehicle, a 22-year-old woman, remained at the scene, and nothing criminal was initially suspected, officials said.
The cause of the crash was under investigation.
**UPDATE: The victim in this case has admitted to investigators that her allegation of attempted kidnapping and assault was false. See updated story above.**
WHITTIER – Two men attacked, molested and tried to force a 14-year-old girl into a car as she walked near California High School early Friday, authorities said.
The incident took place about 8:30 a.m. on Dicky Street near Mills Avenue, in an unincorporated county area just south of Whittier, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Bill Evans said.
A 14-year-old girl was walking when she was approached by two men in a car, the lieutenant said.
A passenger in the car got out, grabbed the girl, struck her, fondled her and tried to pull her into the car, Evans said. The girl managed to break free and get away.
The teen ran home and told her parents, who then notified the sheriff’s department, officials said. The girl was taken to a hospital for examination.
Sheriff’s officials described the attacker as a Latino man in his late 20s or early 30s, heavyset, about 5 feet 11 inches tall, bald, with facial hair and wearing blue jeans, a black sweat shirt and black beanie.
The driver of the car, a white and primered-gray compact, was described only as a Latino man in his late 20s.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff’s Norwalk Station at 562-863-8711.
EAST WHITTIER — A young man and woman struck by a car while crossing Mulberry Drive late Sunday were expected to recover from their injuries, authorities said.
The accident was reported about 8:50 p.m. on Mulberry Drive at Stamy Road, California Highway Patrol Officer Chantee Servio said.
A 24-year-old La Mirada man and a 20-year-old Whittier woman were crossing south across Mulberry Drive in a crosswalk with a green light when the light turned red while they were still in the intersection, the officer said.
The driver of an eastbound Honda Accord, a 31-year-old Whittier man, did not see the pedestrians and struck them as he entered the intersection on a green light, Servio said.
The young man suffered a badly broken leg and cuts to his face and neck, officials said. The young woman suffered scraped and possibly internal injuries.
The driver remained at the scene, and nothing criminal was initially suspected, she said. The cause of the crash remained under investigation.
PASADENA — Firefighters found the body of a woman Friday after extinguishing a fire in an apartment, authorities said.
The woman’s identity was not available early Friday.
Fire officials initially described her as a woman who appeared to be in her late 20s.
911 callers first reported the fire in the 100 block of South Meridith Avenue about 6 a.m., Pasadena police and fire officials said.
“We got a call of smoke showing from an apartment unit,” Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said.
Firefighters arrived to find a fire in a second-floor unit of a seven-unit apartment building, she said.
“When we did a primary search of the main unit that was affected, we discovered a deceased body — an adult female,” Derderian said.
No other injuries were reported in connection with the fire.
The cause of the fire, as well as the cause of the woman’s death, remained under investigation.
“At this point, there’s nothing suspicious in nature,” Derderian said. “But any time there’s a fatality, police and fire collaborate with an investigation. We’re going to be very methodical in the way we investigate this fire.”
About 20 residents from the other units in the apartment complex were evacuated because of the fire, she added.
Officials hoped to have utilities restored to the building and residents back in their homes Friday afternoon, however Red Cross officials were standing by in case they were needed.
Apartments adjacent to the the one scorched by the blaze suffered smoke and water damage, but did not appear to have been burned, officials said.
AZUSA – A 66-year-old woman refused to hand over her wedding ring to an armed robber Thursday.
Azusa police Sgt. Xavier Torres said the woman wasn’t injured during the 3:34 p.m. attempted robbery at the Costco parking lot in the 1200 block of west Foothill Boulevard.
The San Gabriel woman just finished shopping and unloaded her shopping cart. As the woman was getting into her vehicle, Torres said a man approached and demanded her ring.
“She told him she would not give it to him. At that point, he brandished a handgun and forcefully told her to give the ring,” Torres said.
The woman answered back with a “No” and kicked at the suspect. When the robber stepped back, she got in the vehicle and locked it. She called police as she drove away.
The rejected robber turned around and was last seen walking toward the Costco.
The woman later told an officer the ring was her wedding ring.
The suspect was described as a Latino, 20 to 24, 5 feet 6 inches to 5 feet 7 inches tall and weighs between 160 to 170 pounds. He might have a mustache too. He was wearing a blue baseball cap and a white T-shirt.
Anyone with information on the case is asked to call Detective Robert Landeros at 626-812-3228 or Detective Rocky Wenrick at 626-812-3223.
– From Staff Writer Ruby Gonzales
WHITTIER — Two suspects were jailed Thursday after trying to stab another man in a hospital lobby, then trying to stab a security guard who intervened, authorities said.
No one was wounded in the incident, as was initially believed, police said.
One of the suspects is a 17-year-old boy, and no information was immediately available on the second suspect, Whittier police Sgt. Bret Anderson said.
The incident was reported just before 2 p.m. at the hospital, 12401 Washington Blvd., Whittier police Sgt. Brent Anderson said.
“Our victim was walking on the sidewalk to the front of the hospital. He was approached by two other males. They exchanged words,” Anderson said.
The victim walked away from the two suspects, through the hospital parking lot and into the hospital lobby, the lieutenant said.
“The suspect followed him into the lobby, and one of the suspects attempted to stab him,” he said.
When a security guard intervened, the knife-wielding suspect then lunged at him, police said.
The suspects fled on foot and were captured by police a block away from the hospital about an hour later, Anderson said.
COVINA — Police are investigating the slaying of a man who was found shot to death inside the trunk of a car parked in Covina, authorities said Thursday.
The body was found Tuesday in the trunk of a Toyota Camry that had been parked in the 1000 block of E. Wanamaker Drive, Covina police Sgt. Ray Marquez said.
Neighbors called police to report that the car had been parked there for several days, possibly Sept. 23, the sergeant said.
“No one recognized that vehicle or knew who it belonged to,” he said.
Police checked the license plate and found it was listed as being associated with a 26-year-old man who had been reported missing to Ontario police Sept. 23, officials said. Though the car was not registered to the missing man, he was believed to be using it.
Upon taking a closer look, the officers noticed a “very foul odor” coming from the car and opened the trunk, where they found a body, already badly decomposed, Marquez said.
The body had not been identified Thursday, he said, however it appeared to match the basic description of the missing person reported to Ontario police.
Though the man was listed as “John Doe 150″ at the Los Angeles County Department of Coroner, an autopsy carried out Thursday determined the victim died from gunshot wounds, coroner’s Assistant Chief of Operations Craig Harvey said. The death was ruled a homicide.
A small amount of dried blood was found inside the passenger compartment of the Camry, officials said, however it was not immediately clear if that blood was related to the death.
Police have been trying to contact the person registered as the owner of the car, a Pomona resident, with no success, he added.
Based on witness accounts, Marquez said, “It’s pretty safe to say that the vehicle was probably there since some time Friday…consistent with when the missing person was reported.”
No suspicious circumstances were reported in the man’s disappearance in Ontario, Marquez said. A family member or close friend called police after noticing he had not been seen recently.
Ontario police deferred all comments to the Covina Police Department.
Anyone with information is asked to call Covina police at 626-384-5808.