Mother and child lock selves in bathroom during San Dimas break-in; 2 suspects jailed


SAN DIMAS >> Deputies jailed two men who they say broke into a San Dimas home as a woman and her 6-year-old daughter his in an upstairs bedroom on Friday afternoon.
The woman first called 911 about 1:15 p.m. to report hearing someone inside her home in the 1000 block of Avenida Lomita, Los Angeles County sheriff’s officials said in a written statement.
“She also saw two male adults, unknown to her, trying to open the back door to her home,” according to the statement.
The woman grabbed her 6-year-old daughter and locked herself and the girl in the home’s upstairs master bedroom, Lt. Thomas Reid said. Then the mother locked herself and her child inside the bathroom within the master bedroom and called 911.
“The victim remained on the telephone with a sheriff’s 911 operator and provided updates as to the suspect’s location inside the house,” the statement said.
“The victim could hear the suspects walking up the stairs and forcing open doors, and sounds of rooms being ransacked.”
Reid said the intruders forced their way into the master bedroom, and even tried to open the door of the bathroom where the mother and daughter were hiding, but did not get through the final door separating them from the victims.
Despite the intruders inside her home, the mother was “nervous, but calm and in control” as she relayed information to the dispatcher, Reid said. “It was a big help.”
Deputies arrived an surrounded the home, with a helicopter keeping watch from above.
Two men heeded deputies orders to exit the home and were taken into custody without a struggle, Reid said.
“One suspect had in his possession a bag containing items stolen from the house, including jewelry, clothing and small electronics,” the statement said.
Investigators determined the men had broken into the home by forcing open a rear window, officials said. A rental car believed to have been used by the suspects was found parked nearby.
The names the suspects provided to deputies were determined to be false, Reid said. Officials were still working to confirm the mens’ true identities on Friday evening.
Anyone with information can reach the sheriff’s San Dimas Station at 909-450-2700. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Home-invasion robbery reported in San Gabriel


SAN GABRIEL >> Police are investigating a reported home-invasion robbery in which a resident was tied up in San Gabriel early Friday morning.
The crime was reported about 1:30 p.m. at a home in the 1900 block of South Denton Avenue, according to San Gabriel police Sgt. Rebecca Gomez.
A resident of the home, a man in his 30s, and a Monterey Park woman in her 40s who was visiting were inside the home when the woman’s boyfriend, a Paramount man in his 30s, arrived to pick her up, she said.
Two male attacker followed the boyfriend as he approached the house, Lt. Brian Kott said in a written statement.
“The two males allegedly forced their way through the front door and bound one of the three victims,” Kott said.
Gomez said the male resident was tied up in his home, but not the other two victims.
“The suspects subsequently fled the location with miscellaneous stolen property,” Kott said. “However, the circumstances have not been confirmed and are still under investigation.”
No injuries were reported, police said.
No further description of the robbers was available.
Anyone with information can reach San Gabriel police at 626-208-2828. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.

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Covina, West Covina cops to host National Night Out festivities

COVINA >> The community is invited to join Covina and West Covina cops for a night of festivities as the police departments host their National Night Out event early next month.
Officers will join law enforcement agencies throughout the nation in setting aside time to get to know their neighbors with community events. National Night Out is traditionally held on the first Tuesday of August, which falls this year on Aug. 1.
Covina’a event will take place from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. at Heritage Plaza Park, Heritage Plaza Park, 400 N. Citrus Ave., police said in a written statement.
It will feature food, station and vehicle tours, a K-9 demonstration and meet-and-greet with K-9 Jarno, kids’ activities, information booths and more, organizers said.
Live classic rock music will be provided by “Thief.”
For more information, visit www.covinaca.gov.
Next door in West Covina, officials are planning to hold their National Night Out event from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. at the Plaza West Covina shopping mall, 112 Plaza Drive.
“Plaza West Covina values its partnership with the West Covina Police Department, and that we have the opportunity to do our part in helping the fight against crime,” Plaza West Covina Marketing Director Lisa Avakian said in written statement. “The police officers welcome all questions from the community and will be on hand to give safety tips on ways West Covina a safer place to live.”
A DJ, raffles and giveaways will be part of the festivities, organizers said.
“In West Covina, we have approximately 15 different venues who will sponsor National Night Out events, including apartment complexes and neighborhood watch groups,” West Covina Police Chief William Faulkner said in a written statement. “This year, we are happy to team up with Plaza West Covina and that it is a family-friendly event.”
For more information on West Covina’s National Night Out even, contact Jan Poirier at the West Covina Police Department at 626-939-8596.

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UPDATE: Driver killed in crash on 60 Freeway in South El Monte identified as Walnut woman

SOUTH EL MONTE >> A driver killed after her car crashed in to a disabled big rig on the 60 Freeway in South El Monte on Thursday has been identified as a 49-year-old Walnut woman, authorities said.
Tiffany Chiali Yi Ching died in the 1:40 p.m. crash along the westbound 60 Freeway, just east of Santa Anita Avenue, according to Ed Winter, assistant chief of operations at the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
She was at the wheel of a 2018 BMW heading west on the 60 Freeway at an unknown speed just prior to the crash, Officer J. Calder of the CHP’s East Los Angeles-area office said in a written statement.
Ahead of her was a tractor-trailer stopped along the right shoulder of the freeway, near the Santa Anita Avenue offramp, due to a mechanical breakdown, the officer said.
“(The BMW driver) made a turning movement to the right toward the Santa Anita Avenue offramp,” he said. “The BMW struck the right, rear corner of the stopped commercial trailer, continued in a westerly direction, collided a second time into the commercial trailer and the redirected to the north and came to rest on the right shoulder of the offramp.”
Paramedics pronounced Ching dead at the scene at 1:54 p.m., Winter said.
An autopsy determined Ching died from “traumatic injuries” and the death was ruled accidental, he said.
The big rig driver suffered no injuries, according to Calder.
Any witnesses, or anyone with information, can reach the CHP’s East Los Angeles-area office at 323-980-4600.

PHOTO by Keith Durflinger

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Woman killed in crash on 60 Freeway in South El Monte


SOUTH EL MONTE >> A woman died in a crash between a big rig and a car on the 60 Freeway in South El Monte on Thursday afternoon, authorities said.
The deadly crash took place about 1:40 p.m. on the westbound 60 Freeway at Santa Anita Avenue, California Highway Patrol Officer Alex Rubio said.
“It appears to be a two-vehicle collision,” he said. Initial reports indicated the crash involved a big rig and a BMW sedan.
One woman was pronounced dead at the scene, Rubio said. No further description of the victim was available.
A Sig Alert was issued for the Santa Anita Avenue offramp of the westbound 60 Freeway as the investigation continued.

PHOTO by Keith Durflinger

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UPDATE: Man arrested following standoff in East Pasadena


EAST PASADENA >> Deputies used teargas to arrest a man on suspicion after he threatened a shopkeeper with a large knife, smashed windows at the market and then holed up inside his apartment next door for five hours on Thursday, officials said.
Ceasar Jimenez, 27, was ultimately booked on suspicion of assault with a deadly weapon, making criminal threats and vandalism, Los Angeles County sheriff’s Lt. Mark Reyes said.
Deputies first responded to the market in the 3600 block of East Colorado Boulevard about 11:10 a.m. after receiving reports that a man in his 20s was breaking the glass in the business’ front door, Sgt. David Kearney said.
• Photos: Barricade in East Pasadena
Officials learned Jimenez had tried to take an item from the store without paying and was confronted outside by the store worker, according to Reyes.
Jimenez dropped the knife and left, but soon returned, armed with a large kitchen knife, and accosted the shopkeeper, Reyes said. The victim locked himself inside the store, and Jimenez began smashing windows.
When deputies arrived, they found the man had retreated into his apartment next door and refused to come out, he said.
The man was feared to be armed with a knife, officials said.
A sheriff’s Mental Evaluation Team responded to the scene and continued trying to persuade the man to surrender Thursday afternoon, according to Kearney. A sheriff’s Special Enforcement Bureau SWAT team was also summoned to the scene.
Sheriff’s officials asked residents via Twitter to avoid the area as the standoff continued, and nearby homes were evacuated as a precaution.
SWAT deputies ultimately fired teargas into the apartment about 4:30 p.m., prompting Jimenez to exit the home and surrender, Reyes said. He was taken to a hospital for examination as a precaution, but suffered no apparent significant injuries.
Jimenez was expected to be arraigned Monday in the Alhambra branch of Los Angles County Superior Court, Reyes said.

PHOTO by Walt Mancini

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Community mourns slain South Pasadena boy at memorial in Arcadia

ARCADIA >> hundreds of community members rallied around the family of a 5-year-old South Pasadena boy found dead, allegedly at the hands of his father, after going missing for two months.
At a memorial at the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden provided an outlet for the community to mourn Aramazd “Piqui” Andressian Jr. one day after the young boy’s funeral.
Concerned neighbors from near and far, many of whom had no personal connection to Andressian Jr. or his family, joined in the relentless multi-county search for “Piqui” as the days stretched into weeks, and eventually months, with no sign of the child. And news that the boy had been found dead not only devastated the family, but elicited both sorrow and anger from the community members who also remained hopeful that Andressian Jr. would be found safe.
“He touched the lives of so many people and became everybody’s child,” said his mother, Ana Estevez.“The outpouring of prayers, love kindness and support is awe-inspiring. The support received has brought my family and me great comfort, and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for loving my son,” the mother said.
The body of Andressian Jr. was discovered June 30 near Lake Cachuma in Santa Barbara County, where he was believed to have been taken by his father, 35-year-old Andressian Sr. The father, who was in the midst of a divorce with his son’s mother when they boy vanished under suspicious circumstances in late-April, has since been arrested in Las Vegas and pleaded not guilty to a murder charge in Los Angeles County.
Andressian Sr. is scheduled to appear Aug. 1 in the Alhambra branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court for a hearing in his case, records show. He’s being held in lieu of $10 million bail pending trial.
“I think of my son often,” Estevez said. “Piqui is the love of my life, today, tomorrow and always,” she said. “I’m so proud and honored that I was chosen to be his mama.”
Many of those gathered to mourn Andressian Jr. on Wednesday had a personal connection with the family.
Ernie and Gloria Preciado of Alhambra came to the event to show their respects. Ernie Preciado is a co-worker of Andressian Jr.’s uncle.
“We have a 5-year-old grandson that reminds me a lot of (Andressian Jr.),” he said.
A large number mourners had never known the family personally, but were nonetheless compelled to take an interest in their struggle.
Among them was Irene Carrillo of Valencia, who had a 6-year-old son.
“He just reminds me a lot of my boy,” she said. I just fell in love with the little boy, and I don’t even know him.”
Carrillo said she normally tries not to get personally involved in local news stories, but couldn’t help becoming wrapped up in Andressian Jr.’s case.
She said she made a shrine of candles at her home to pray for the little boy and his family.
In addition to sympathizing with a horrific situation affecting a local family, the University of Southern California’s National Center for School Crisis Bereavement Director Dr. David Schonfeld said there are psychological factors at play that affect the communities in the wake of tragedy.
While grief is generally considered to be a personal experience felt by those directly impacted by a loss, the community at-large can also experience a “shared experience of loss,” he said.
One phenomenon at play is that of, “the loss of the assumptive world,” he explained.
People rely on assumptions about the way the world should work in order to get through daily life, Schonfeld said. They range from assuming that other drivers will remain on the correct side of the road, to assuming that children are safe at school or with their parents.
“When we hear that one of those assumptions has been violated, even if it’s someone we don’t know, it affects us,” the doctor said. “It makes us realize that could happen to someone we care about. It makes us feel vulnerable.”
Following a tragedy that seemingly upends accepted assumptions, there’s a natural urge for community members to want to learn as much as they can about what took place, he said.
“They want to understand exactly what happened,” he said. There is often a sense that, “If I understand it better, I can protect myself and those I care about.”
Additionally, while many community members may not personally know a family affected by tragedy, it’s natural for people to identify with the pain of loss they’ve experience in their own lives.
“There is comfort in coming together as a group and as a community,” Schonfeld said.
The NCSCB, which specializes in dealing with crisis affecting students and schools, has published information to help parents and teachers speak with children about crisis and loss online at www.schoolcrisiscenter.org.
During Wednesday’s memorial service, loved ones shared happy memories of how Piqui had changed their lives for the better.
Uncle Shaun Estevez recounted his birth, his first holidays and other milestones.
“You still make my eyes water with joy and excitement, because I was blessed to be your uncle,” he said.
“In five years, you left a lifetime of memories,” the uncle said through tears. “I ask you for one favor my baby boy,” the uncle said through tears. “Please watch over my baby sister, your mama.
Other family members, family friends and Andressian Jr.’s school teachers lined up to eulogize the boy.
In addition to remembering the good times with Piqui, Ana Estevez also spoke of justice.
“His legacy is worthwhile. My son is worthwhile,” she said. “His death will not be in vain. There will be justice and accountability for Piqui, not only for the evil that caused this atrocity, but for the system and the individuals within the system that permitted this tragedy to happen. That is my promise to my son.”
She asked the community to keep her son in their thoughts, and not forget the lessons he taught.
“Please continue to love my son as I do, and always remember that one person can make a difference,” Estevez said.. “My son, a 5-year-old, made a difference in the lives of thousands. So in the spirit of Piqui, see you soon, alligator.”

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Whittier man sentenced to 31 years in prison in teen sextortion case

A Whittier man received a 31-year prison sentence Wednesday for obtaining nude photos of teenage girls, then extorting them for sex by threatening to share the photos, as well harm them or their families, officials said.
Josh Manuel Magana, 28, pleaded “no contest” last month to two counts of forcible oral copulation, forcible rape, forcible rape of a an underage victim and extortion, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
Magana met his victims online via the social media app “KIK,” Lt. Kent Wegener of the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Human Trafficking Bureau said at the time of the arrest. He used the online moniker, “thegiftedmonster.”
The investigation began in October of 2016, after Magana pressured a 15-year-old girl to send him nude photos of herself,” Ardalani said.
“The defendant told the girl that if she refused, then he would hurt her and her family,” she said. “The girl told her mother, who then notified law enforcement.”
As the investigation continued, detectives identified a second teenage girl who reported that Magana had threatened to distribute nude photos of her if she refused to have sex with him, officials said.
Investigators arrested Magana in February.
“Due to media coverage of the case, a third victim came forward and revealed that the defendant also had been forcing her to have sex with him,” according to Ardalani. Her age was not available Wednesday.
Once released from prison, Magana will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life.

PHOTO: Josh Manuel Magana, 28, of Whittier. (Courtesy, LASD)

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Ex-fugitive gets life in prison for slaying of neighbor in Norwalk

A former international fugitive will spend the rest of his life in prison for stabbing a 50-year-old disabled neighbor to death inside her Pico Rivera home in 2012, a judge ruled Wednesday.
Luis Fernando Diofron, also known as Luis Fernando Diofron Lemus, 25, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the Aug. 10, 2012 slaying of Denise Battey at her home in the 11900 block of Allard Street, Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office spokeswoman Sarah Ardalani said in a written statement.
He pleaded guilty to one count of murder on June 29. He also admitted to the special circumstance that the murder was done during the commission of a burglary, as well as the special allegation that he personally used a knife in the slaying.
“Lemus broke into his neighbor’s Norwalk home and fatally stabbed the 50-year-old woman,” Ardalani said.
Diofron was also initially accused of murder during the coarse of a rape, but the rape allegation was dismissed under a negotiated plea arrangement, officials said.
The killer, a Guatemalan national, was in the United States on a work visa and living next door to Battey at the time of the slaying, sheriff’s officials said.
He attacked her as she watered here garden, then dragged her inside her home where he stabbed her to death, according to investigators.
Diofron then fled to Guatemala, where he remained for two years before being captured in late-2014 and extradited back to California to face justice.
Battey worked for the U.S. Social Security Administration and tutored students on college preparation in her spare time, family members said. A recent back surgery, as well as severe sciatica in one of her legs, left her defenseless.

PHOTOS: Convicted murderer Luis Fernando Diofron, also known as Luis Fernando Diofron Lemus, 25, (left) and victim Denise Battey, 50, of Norwalk (right). [Courtesy]

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Covina police arrest El Monte man on suspicion of peeping, possession of child pornography

Police arrested an El Monte man Wednesday on suspicion of possessing hundreds of images of child pornography, as well as secretly recording video of an female relative in her Covina home, authorities said.
Anthony Patrick Reyes, 26, was jailed following two-month long investigation, Covina police Lt. Ric Walczak said.
The investigation began about two months ago when a woman reported to police that she had discovered a cell phone hidden in her closet and recording her, the lieutenant said.
Investigators seized the cell phone, but found some of its files were encrypted and not readily accessible, according to Walczak.
Following a forensic examination of the phone, officials managed to recover the encrypted files, he said included not only surreptitiously recorded videos of his relative, but also about 200 images depicting young children engaged in sexual acts.
Police arrested Reyes without a struggle at his home in El Monte about 10:35 a.m., according to polcie and county booking records.
“He was interviewed by our detectives and admitted to both the possession of the images and video taping his family member,” Walczak said.
Reyes faces charges of peeping and possession of child pornography.
Records show he was being held in lieu of $45,000 bail pending his arraignment hearing, scheduled Thursday in the West Covina branch of Los Angeles County Superior Court.

PHOTO: Anthony Patrick Reyes, 26, of El Monte. (Courtesy, Covina Police Department)

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