Mom's Boyfriend Charged After Her 9-Year-Old's Body Was Found in Duffle Bag

Side-by-side of LAPD sketch and still photo of Trinity Love Jones.
KTLA

An outdoor cleaning crew made a haunting discovery March 5 in Hacienda Heights in Los Angeles County: Inside a duffel bag was the body of a young girl, callously discarded just feet from a popular equestrian trail. Just a week later, a suspect has finally been taken into custody and charged in the tragic death of 9-year-old Trinity Love Jones, though questions as to how and why still remain unclear.

  • A group of workers were cleaning brush from the horse trail when they first spotted the oversized duffel bag with a girl's body partially exposed.

    Initially, police had no leads to go on and were at odds when trying to identify the body; so they petitioned the public for help. 

    Just one day after the body was discovered, the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department posted images of the duffel bag, as well as several sketches of the girl and the clothing she was found in -- panda-print leggings and a pink, long-sleeved shirt with the words "Future Princess Hero" on the front.

    In just days, they learned her name: Trinity Love Jones.

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  • Emiel Lamar Hunt was charged Tuesday, and according to the LA district attorney's office, he's believed to be the boyfriend of Trinity's mother.

    Hunt was first arrested Saturday after he was found sleeping in his car at the San Diego Airport after several days of investigation, CNN reports.

    Police believe he killed the young girl on or around March 1, and though his possible motive and method have not yet been released by the DA, KTLA reports that Hunt is a known child abuser -- he was convicted in 2005 of abusing his biological son and served 10 years in prison. 

  • Meanwhile, Trinity's mother, Taquesta Graham, is also being held by police as a "person of interest."

    In addition to Hunt's disturbing past, it's likely Graham's own criminal history is also raising alarm bells for police. Graham is a registered sex offender who served time for "enticing a female for prostitution" and was last released in 2016, according to the California Meghan's Law Website

    Although she hasn't been officially charged, KTLA reports that investigators are holding her in hopes of gaining more information and determining what her role might be -- if any -- in the case.

  • During Hunt's court appearance this week, Trinity's father, Antonio Jones, could be heard yelling "You killed my daughter!"

    The distraught father reportedly cried throughout the court appearance and clenched his fists in anguish. After the hearing, Jones reportedly tried to calm himself and focus on how loved his daughter was -- and still is. 

    "She's an angel now," he said. "Trinity's happy. She's in a better place."

  • Still, the 9-year-old's senseless death is taking a toll on all those who loved her.

    Trinity's paternal grandmother, Barbara Jones, told reporters outside the courthouse Tuesday that news of Trinity's death -- and the fact that Hunt had been charged -- left her in both shock and outrage.

    "I felt like a monster," she recalled, "like I wanted to do to him what he did to her, or what is alleged he did to her."

    In the days since, however, both family and friends are trying to honor the little girl's short life with dignity in whatever way they can. A large group of mourners reportedly gathered near the Hacienda Heights trail earlier this week, where they hung heart-shaped balloons, left stuffed animals, and propped up signs with heartbreaking messages such as "Rest in heaven, princess."

    “Words can’t explain what I’m feeling right now,” Antonio told KTLA at the memorial. “I just want answers. I just want justice.”

  • For now, Hunt is being held on $2 million bail while Graham continues to be questioned.

    If found guilty, Hunt faces 50 years to life in prison, though his arraignment was postponed until April 16.

    In the meantime, the details surrounding Trinity's death continue to haunt those who remain close to the case -- including one worker who discovered her body.

    Speaking with KTLA his week, the worker (who chose not to share his name) broke down when describing the scene. Though he said the girl's face looked "peaceful," when he was asked what was going through his mind when he found her, the man could only manage the words "My kids ..." before ending the interview in tears.