LOS ANGELES – An infant died and a young girl and a woman were hospitalized after they were found naked, unconscious and covered with a white powder Thursday in a store parking lot in Los Angeles, police said.
Officers responded shortly before 2 a.m. to reports of a female screaming near the market in a South Los Angeles neighborhood, according to Officer Irma Mota.
The three victims were found on the pavement next to a car, covered in the powder that a hazardous materials team determined was not dangerous and was possibly baby powder.
All were rushed to a hospital, where the infant was pronounced dead, Mota said. The 8-year-old girl was in critical condition and the 26-year-old woman — believed to be the girls' mother — was in stable condition.
The victims showed no obvious signs of injury, Mota said.
Detectives were looking for surveillance footage and canvassing for witnesses.
Sunhee Chung, who owns a nearby liquor store, told KABC-TV and the Los Angeles Times that the woman, a regular customer, came in Wednesday with the 8-year-old girl. The woman was in pajamas and barefoot with messy hair. She bought three cans of Ajax cleaner and latex gloves.
The woman complained that the girl had been crying all night, and the child said she wanted to live with her grandmother, Chung said.
The woman also wandered around trying to open car doors, Chung said.
Later Wednesday night, one of Chung's employees saw the woman, girl and baby, all naked and covered in white powder, outside the store and the woman was breastfeeding the baby, Chung told the Times.
The woman lived nearby and neighbors suspected she was in an abusive relationship.
"We would hear all this loud cursing and you'd hear a lot of arguing going on with him and her," Johnette Green told KABC-TV.
Earlier Wednesday evening, officers answered a report of an assault with a deadly weapon at a house where police believe the woman lived and found powder in one room but no evidence of a crime, Lt. Chris Ramirez told the Times