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Michelle Lozano, 17 [Updated]

Michelle Lozano (2011-04-26)

Michelle Lozano, a 17-year-old Latina, was found dead Tuesday, April 26, near the southbound 5 Freeway at State Street and Cesar Chavez Avenue in Boyle Heights, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.

A homeless person called police after finding Lozano's nude body in a broken-open container in the brush about 11:30 p.m. Monday, according to an official at the Los Angeles Police Department's Hollenbeck Station. Authorities pronounced the girl dead at the scene early Tuesday.

Investigators determined from evidence that Lozano had been wrapped in plastic bags and stuffed in the plastic container. Afterward, the container was dumped over a concrete barrier along the freeway. When it hit the ground, the container broke open and spilled Lozano’s body into the shrubs.

Police said there were no obvious signs of trauma. Coroner's officials said that a cause of death has been deferred and a final determination will not be available for at least six to eight weeks.

Lozano was a resident of Los Angeles and had a tattoo on each wrist, one reading "Love" and the other "Hate," officials said.

Anyone with information about her death is asked to contact Det. Douglas Kirkland at (323) 342-8953. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477).

[Update Jan. 12, 2012: The coroner's office said Lozano died from asphyxia by strangulation and her death was ruled a homicide.]

-- Tony Barboza and Paloma Esquivel

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