A story for every victim

Erica Johnson, 2

Erica Johnson, a 2-year-old black girl, was beaten to death Wednesday, Oct. 6, in the 10600 block of Cimarron Street in Westmont, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

At the time of her death, Erica was staying in the company of her maternal grandmother and an adult male, later identified by the Sheriff's Department as Davon Smith. Erica’s mother is incarcerated, authorities said.

Paramedics were called to the home shortly after 11 p.m. They transported Erica to Centinela Hospital Medical Center in Inglewood.

“She was in full arrest,” said Steve Whitmore, spokesman for the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. “Doctors tried to revive her but couldn’t.”

Whitmore did not specify the type of injuries, although he said she sustained "major physical trauma."

Sheriff’s homicide detectives were being assisted by the Special Victims Bureau, a unit that is typically called in when a crime has possibly been committed against a child. The unit investigates cases of physical or sexual abuse, Whitmore said.

A day after the incident, authorities arrested Smith, a 21-year-old black man, on suspicion of murder. He is being held at the North County Correctional Facility in Castaic in lieu of $1-million bail. His next court appearance is scheduled for Nov. 9 at the Inglewood Municipal Court.

Anyone with information about the case is urged to call the sheriff's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500 or (800) 222-8477. Tipsters who would like to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477).

-- Ann M. Simmons and Sarah Ardalani

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