Suicide was suspected in the deaths of two of three family members whose lifeless bodies were found Monday at a residence in Hawaiian Gardens, a coroner's official said.
"It was reported to us as possible natural causes for the mom and as possible suicides for the two girls," said Ed Winter, assistant chief of the Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner.
The mother was identified by the coroner's office as 87-year-old Misayo Yoshijima. The daughters were ID'd as 58-year-old Arlene and Marlene Yoshijima, who are reportedly twins.
Autopsies, which could determine conclusively if suicide played a role, were pending, Winter said.
The bodies were discovered in the 11800 block of 223rd Street in Hawaiian Gardens, according to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department.
A relative checking up on the trio discovered the oldest woman dead shortly before 7:30 a.m. yesterday, the department said in a statement.
"The deputies arrived, entered the residence and found the elderly, Asian female deceased in a bedroom," said Deputy Juanita Navarro-Suarez. "The deputies then entered a detached garage at the rear of the residence and, as they opened the door, were overcome by a strong chemical odor. Two female Asian adults were subsequently discovered, also deceased, on the floor of the detached garage where a vehicle was left with its engine running."
Los Angeles County Fire Department first responders and a sheriff's hazmat team "rendered the scene safe," she said.
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Three deputies apparently exposed to carbon monoxide or some other chemical had to be treated at a hospital, authorities said. The source of the odor was still under investigation.
Deputy Sara Rodriguez initially said that there were "suspicious circumstances surrounding the death of three adult females."
The case was still being probed and might hinge on the coroner's conclusion, officials said.