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Separate killings of Lincoln Heights women related, police say

The killings of two Lincoln Heights women who were discovered near freeways have been linked through forensic evidence, prompting police on Tuesday to announce two $50,000 rewards in hopes that a person will come forward with information about the deaths.

Reward flier in Guzman and Lozano killing

The body of Michelle Lozano, 17, was found April 25, 2011, in brush along Interstate 5 near Cesar Chavez Avenue, Los Angeles Police Capt. William Hayes said at a news conference.

Lozano was last seen about 4 p.m. the day before on North Broadway near Lincoln High School in Lincoln Heights, LAPD Det. Jay King said.

Lozano was found in a broken-open container in the brush about 11:30 p.m., and investigators determined that she had been wrapped in plastic bags and stuffed in the container. L.A. County coroner’s officials determined that Lozano died of asphyxia by strangulation.

On Jan. 26, 2012, Bree’Anna Guzman’s body was found near the Riverside Drive onramp to the Glendale Freeway. Initially, investigators listed Guzman, 22, as a Jane Doe due to the state of her remains.

Guzman was last seen about 7:55 p.m. on Dec. 26, 2011. She told her mother she was going to get cough drops at a Rite-Aid near Avenue 26 in Lincoln Heights. Her family reported her missing the next day.

Investigators initially thought the cases could be related but didn’t have any confirmation until recently, when detectives identified additional forensic evidence linking the two killings, Hayes said.

Police said they do not have a suspect or a vehicle description and are hoping that the public will come forward with information.

“My biggest concern is I have no eyewitnesses to this,” Hayes said.

On Friday, two $50,000 rewards were renewed by the Los Angeles City Council.

Gil Cedillo, who sponsored the rewards, called the crimes “horrible.”

“There’s no sense of closure, no sense of justice,” he said.

Darlene Guzman said her daughter, a mother of two, liked to bake and cook and had dreams of becoming a pastry chef.

“She was loved by so many people,” she said at the news conference, to which she wore a pink shirt bearing her daughter's photo.

She recalled the last time she saw her daughter, who had told her she was going to Rite-Aid.

“She was going to be right back,” Darlene Guzman said.

Anyone with information is asked to call King or Det. Frank Carrillo at (213) 486-6890.

-- Nicole Santa Cruz

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