After 9-Year-Old Girl Was Found Dead in Duffel Bag on Calif. Trail, Her Mom Is Charged With Murder
Trinity Love Jones' father described her as "fun, loving, big heart(ed), bubbly"
The mother of a 9-year-old girl whose body was found stuffed in a duffel bag along a California horse trail has been arrested as the second suspect in the child’s murder, PEOPLE confirms.
On Monday, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department arrested Taquesta Graham, 28, on accusations she murdered her daughter, Trinity Love Jones, the sheriff’s department said in an advisory.
Trinity’s body was found protruding from a duffel bag in an embankment on the trail in Hacienda Heights on March 5.
The coroner ruled her death a homicide, but has not yet released the cause of death, the sheriff’s department says.
The Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office is reviewing the case and is expected to file a murder charge Wednesday morning, the advisory says.
Graham, a registered sex offender, is expected to be arraigned in Pomona Court on Wednesday after the filing, the advisory says.
She was extradited from Texas to Los Angeles on Thursday after being held on an unrelated warrant.
On March 8, Graham and her boyfriend, Emiel Hunt, 38, were stopped at a border patrol checkpoint in Hudspeth County, Texas, where she was arrested on the unrelated warrant. Hunt was released and drove back to California.
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Following an investigation, Hunt was arrested on March 9 in connection with Trinity’s death after he was found sleeping in his car near the San Diego Airport, the advisory says.
He is charged with one count of murder.
He served time in prison for a child abuse conviction, the sheriff’s department says.
Authorities believe Trinity was killed on or about March 1, the district attorney’s office said, Houston ABC affiliate KTRK reports.
Authorities believe Graham, Hunt, and Trinity had been homeless since they moved out of a family member’s home in Long Beach in May of 2018.
“During the past ten months the extended family had only seen or heard from the couple and Trinity on a few occasions,” the advisory says.
“Investigators have learned Hunt, Graham and Trinity were homeless just prior to her death and were residing in a Santa Fe Springs motel or in their vehicle,” it says.
There were no open or active Department of Children and Family Services cases involving Trinity, the advisory says.
Trinity Was ‘Fun, Loving,’ Says Dad
The little girl’s extended family is still reeling from her death.
“Trinity was our princess,” her cousin, Sytrice Oldham-Edmond, told Los Angeles CBS affiliate KCAL.
Trinity was found wearing a shirt that read “FUTURE PRINCESS HERO,” KCAL reports.
“My family and I are devastated about losing her,” Oldham-Edmond told the outlet. “She didn’t deserve any of this. She didn’t deserve to be tossed out like trash. Trinity will be greatly missed.”
Her father, Antonio Jones, told The Los Angeles Times that his daughter was “fun, loving, big heart(ed), bubbly.”
“Little girl could’ve been whatever she wanted to be in life,” he said.
It is unclear whether Graham or Hunt have retained attorneys who can speak on their behalf. She remains held with no bail.
Hunt’s arraignment is scheduled for April 16. He remains held in lieu of $2 million bail, Los Angeles CBS affiliate KCAL reports.