Two female models, Maleesa Mooney, 31, and Nichole Coats, 32, have been found dead in their luxury apartments in downtown Los Angeles within the last week, prompting police to launch investigations into the deaths of the two aspiring models.
The Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) discovered Mooney dead in her apartment on September 12. Police have asked the public for help in identifying the person or people responsible for her death, as the exact cause of death remains unknown pending results from a post-mortem examination conducted by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office.
Two days earlier, Coats’ body was discovered in her apartment, sparking speculation among family members that the 32-year-old model may have been the victim of murder. May Stevens, aunt to Coats, said “I believe it was murder, I really do. One of her legs was up in the air in a kicking position. That’s not somebody who just laid in their bed and died.”
The LAPD is not currently investigating Coats’ death as a homicide, and the L.A. County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner has reported that the cause of death is currently deferred pending further investigation.
Regardless, Coats’ family is pushing for more answers. Coats’ cousin, Sheniya Mason, has asked police if there is a correlation between the two deaths, noting that they occurred in close proximity.
“We just want to know what happened … It just doesn’t seem right … Is there a correlation between these two females?” she said. “Is there a correlation? They were both almost in the same area … we need to make sure that this isn’t something else because it just didn’t seem right.”
LAPD Officer Drake Madison reiterated to ABC7 that police have “no information of any type of homicide or anything. We couldn’t find anything on that. … It could be anything.”
The unsolved deaths of Mooney and Coats come in the wake of increased criticism in Los Angeles County towards District Attorney George Gascon, who has been denounced for taking a soft-on-crime approach that allows serious criminals to avoid incarceration despite history of violence.
LAPD detectives, coroner investigators, and the families of Mooney and Coats will continue their search for answers in the weeks ahead. In the meantime, the two models remain memorialised by friends, family, and their respective communities for pursuing their ambitions with passion and love.