Sunday 19 January 2020

LA riots victim finally identified after 25 years

The man's death is still under investigation
The man's death is still under investigation

After a quarter of a century, a victim of the Los Angeles riots has finally been identified.

Police announced that the man previously known only as John Doe No 80 is Miguel Armando Quiroz Ortiz.

He was 18 at the time of his death.

His body, burned beyond recognition, was found on May 2 1992 in a Pep Boys store, one of many buildings burned down during the riots that engulfed South Los Angeles.

Coroner's officials determined the man had died from inhaling smoke, soot and carbon monoxide and the death was classified as a homicide because the fire was deliberately set, according to a police statement.

Detectives found a shell casing near the body but it is unknown whether it was associated with his death, the statement said.

Officials tried to identify the body using a fingerprint from the left middle finger, but found no match for a quarter of a century.

This April, however, the county coroner's office notified LAPD cold case detectives that the fingerprint had at last been identified as that of a Los Angeles resident named Armando Hernandez.

Hernandez was one of Mr Quiroz's aliases.

"The coroner's office had information from a previous LAPD contact with Hernandez that he was possibly a Mexican citizen," the police statement said.

"The Mexican Consulate was contacted for assistance in trying to locate a next of kin."

The man's sister in Mexico identified him from a photograph provided by the coroner, police said.

Mr Quiroz came to the United States in 1989 from Mexico to look for work.

After several contacts with his family, he "was never heard from again" even though the family tried for several years to find him, police said.

Mr Quiroz's death remains under investigation and investigators would like to hear from anyone who knew him during his stay in Los Angeles.

They also would like to identify and interview an "unknown friend" who accompanied him to the United States, according to the LAPD statement.

PA Media

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