Police in Los Angeles are investigating the deaths of two aspiring models who were found in Los Angeles apartment complexes days apart -- one death determined by police to be a murder.
A spokesperson for the Los Angeles Police Department (LAPD) told ABC News on Sunday afternoon that the death of Maleesa Mooney, 31, on Sept. 12 is being investigated as a homicide, while the death of Nichole “Nikki” Coats, 32, on Sept. 10 is “an undetermined death at this point” and they will determine whether it could be investigated as a homicide after the L.A. County Department of Medical Examiner completes its report and determines her cause of death.
Asked if the cases could be linked, a spokesperson for the LAPD told ABC News on Monday, "it's too soon" to make a determination and they are still awaiting the coroner's reports.
According to a Sept. 15 statement released by the LAPD, Mooney was found dead inside an apartment unit on Sept. 12 at around 3:54 p.m. local time by LAPD Central Area officers who responded to a radio call for a Welfare Check at the 200 block of South Figueroa Street.
“The investigation revealed that Maleesa Mooney had been murdered inside of her apartment. Maleesa Mooney’s exact cause of death is unknown, pending a post-mortem examination which will be conducted by the Los Angeles County Coroner’s office,” the statement said.
Mooney’s family and friends held a rally in Los Angeles on Sunday evening, calling for justice.
Mooney's sister, Jourdin Pauline, spoke out at the rally and told ABC station in Los Angeles, KABC, in an interview on Friday that the family became concerned after they couldn’t get a hold of Mooney.
"We're supposed to grow old together," Pauline told KABC. "That's not supposed to happen to her."
"She's so kind, she's so genuine, she's so loving," she added. "To have someone do what they did to my sister, to that caliber, is sick. It's demented.”
The Los Angeles Police Department’s Central Bureau Homicide investigators asked for the public’s help in the investigation, urging anyone with information about this case to come forward.
Asked about the status of the autopsy reports for both women, the L.A. County Department of Medical Examiner's office did not immediately respond to ABC News’ requests for comment.
Guy Coats, the father of Nichole “Nikki” Coats, who was found dead in her apartment on Sept. 10, spoke with ABC News on Sunday evening and said that the family is “distraught” after his daughter’s death.
“My daughter is such a beautiful person, it’s not just because she’s my daughter -- she’s just got it naturally,” Coats said.
Coats said that his daughter worked from home as a sales rep but was an aspiring model, as well.
The father said that the last time he spoke with his daughter was on Thursday Sept. 7 over FaceTime and she was with a cousin and some friends.
“I said you guys are just having a ball over there,” Coats said, adding that he told his daughter that he loved her and would talk to her later.
Coats said that on Sunday, Sept. 12, the cousin who was with his daughter on Thursday called him and said that some of her friends couldn’t reach her and wanted police to do a welfare check.
Coats said that he was the only one with another fob to get into her apartment, so he went to check on her and found her unresponsive, “kind of laying there, her arm is stretched out and her fingers are relaxed.”
“And as soon as I touched her she was like a rock,” he said. “So I called 911.”
“I didn't stare at her, It hurted too much,” he added.
Guy Coats said that first responders arrived about five minutes later and coroners arrived after it was determined that his daughter was dead.
“The appearance of the apartment was as it usually is. Everything was normal,” Coats said.
“I thought my baby passed in her sleep,” he said.
But Coats said that his daughter’s mother, Sharon Coats, and some of her aunts became suspicious after they learned that Mooney’s homicide took place two days after Nichole’s death in a downtown Los Angeles apartment complex just “around the corner.”
Coats said that after his daughter’s death, his sisters asked him if they could contact the media to raise awareness about the case because they feared a predator and he said that although he didn’t want to jump to conclusions, he gave them permission to do so because if there is a predator out there -- I said it may not have anything to do with my baby -- but whatever it is then we need to at least put this out.”
Coats said that the family is now awaiting the coroner’s report.