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Mystery surrounds February killing of homeless woman in Pico-Union

More than once, Glen Curado offered Irma Cuevas a place to stay.

Curado met Cuevas about five years ago when she began volunteering at World Harvest Food Bank. The 62-year-old was recently homeless, and although she didn’t talk much, she and her high-heeled shoes were a memorable presence.

“She worked really, really hard,” said Curado, the food bank’s CEO.

Curado and others at World Harvest were shocked and saddened when they learned that Cuevas had been found stabbed to death two months ago in the Pico-Union area.

Police have announced a $50,000 reward in the slaying and have released surveillance footage that may lead to the killer.

On Sunday, Feb. 19, a person walking in the 2600 block of West Olympic Boulevard discovered Cuevas’ body lying between two cars, police said.

The 62-year-old, who didn’t have any immediate family in the area, was identified through the California Department of Motor Vehicles.

Police think she was killed between 1:30 and 2:30 a.m., although her body wasn’t discovered until 10:30 a.m.

Authorities think Cuevas lived in the area before becoming homeless about five years ago. They know she liked to sweep the nearby sidewalks.

Recently, police released a video of someone described as a person of interest riding a bicycle with a child’s seat attached. Authorities say the person may walk with a limp.

“We have no suspects identified at this point,” Lt. John Radtke said.

Curado said recently that he hadn’t seen Cuevas in about six months. He didn’t know much about her but said she told him she once worked for a sweatshop but quit because she didn’t like how she was treated. She may have family in Mexico, he said.

Cuevas would sweep around the post office off West Washington Boulevard, Curado said. “She would sweep and sweep and sweep. That was her thing.”

About four years ago, someone on the street tried to rob her and injured her finger, he said. Curado took her to a hospital, where she stayed for about a week. Doctors had to amputate her finger.

“She never wanted to go into a shelter,” Curado said.

People at the food bank would tell her to get a shopping cart for her belongings, but she was proud, Curado said, and didn’t want to look homeless.

Anyone with information is asked to contact LAPD West Bureau Homicide detectives at 213-382-9470. Those who wish to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

Photo: Police have said this bicyclist is a person of interest in the stabbing death of Irma Cuevas. Credit: LAPD

Contact the Homicide Report. Follow @nicolesantacruz and @latimeshomicide on Twitter.

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