Mom, 28, joins boyfriend in facing murder charge in death of 9-year-old girl found in duffel bag

A California mother whose 9-year-old daughter was found dead, stuffed inside a duffel bag near a horse trail earlier this month has been charged with her murder, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office.

Taquesta Graham, 28, was charged Wednesday with one count of murder in connection with the death of her daughter, Trinity Love Jones.

Graham’s boyfriend, Emiel Hunt, 38, was charged earlier this month with one count of murder in the case. Hunt has a prior conviction for child abuse with great bodily injury, and another related to enticing a minor for prostitution, according to a criminal complaint cited by local media.

Graham and Hunt are believed to have killed the child on or around March 1 and dumped her body near the trail, a criminal complaint said. The body was found March 5 at the bottom of an embankment in Hacienda Heights, about 20 miles east of Los Angeles. She had been wearing pants with a panda pattern and a pink shirt reading, “Future Princess Hero,” when she was found.

Trinity Love Jones was found dead near a hiking trail in Southern California earlier this month. (L.A. County Sheriff's Dept.)

Trinity Love Jones was found dead near a hiking trail in Southern California earlier this month. (L.A. County Sheriff's Dept.)

Graham and Hunt were stopped at a checkpoint in Hudspeth County, Texas, on March 8, the Los Angeles Times reported. Graham was taken into custody on a warrant unrelated to her daughter's murder. Her bail was set at $2 million, according to FOX 11 of Los Angeles. Hunt was later released and drove back to California where he was arrested March 10, according to the Times.

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Graham was extradited to California last week to answer questions on her daughter's murder. It wasn’t immediately clear whether she has an attorney. She was arraigned Wednesday afternoon at the Los Angeles County Superior Court, FOX 11 reported. Hunt’s arraignment is scheduled for April 16. Graham faces 26 years to life in state prison while Hunt faces up to 55 years to life in prison if they are convicted as charged, the report said.

Photos adorn a large memorial to Trinity Love Jones, the 9-year-old girl whose body was found in a duffel bag along a suburban Los Angeles equestrian trail.

Photos adorn a large memorial to Trinity Love Jones, the 9-year-old girl whose body was found in a duffel bag along a suburban Los Angeles equestrian trail. (AP)

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Friends and family members described Trinity as a joyful and talented girl who did well in school. Her family members plan to hold a public memorial service at 12:30 p.m. March 25 at St. John Vianney Church in Hacienda Heights, ABC 7 of Los Angeles reported.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.