It's also a community that's dealing with its second homicide in three months.
While both unsolved murders involve a woman who was fatally stabbed, that's about all they have in common. The latest was reported Saturday at 9:20 a.m., according to a Los Angeles Police Department statement.
The body of 41-year-old Najat Pennell was discovered on a bus bench on the northeast corner of Wilshire Boulevard and Norton Avenue, police said. That means the find happened just inside the southeast boundaries of Windsor Square. That's only two blocks from the mayor's house, which is often manned by cops.
Coroner's investigators determined Pennell had been fatally stabbed. According to cops, paramedics who responded to the death investigation believe Pennell had been dead for “hours” before she was discovered along one of America's busiest boulevards, which leads into a Koreatown that bustles almost 24 hours a day.
Detectives aren't exactly sure when the woman, who had been living homeless in the area for years, was attacked. Police stated that she “frequently slept at the bus bench” where her body was found.
“We don't have a real exact time of when this went down,” Det. Scott Masterson told us. “We think probably around 3 a.m.”
They're looking at a window of late Friday through early Saturday. Police have been “pulling” security video from nearby buildings, but they had yet to view it all, Masterson said.
So far there's nothing specific that links Pennell's death to the Dec 22 murder of 86-year-old Antonia Maria Yager, widow of late Superior Court Judge Thomas C. Yager, whose body was found in her home about 10 blocks north-northeast of the bus bench.
“The one common thread,” the detective says, “is that both women were killed by stab wounds.”
In terms of motive, he said, “We're open to everything from robbery to assault to an argument with another homeless person.”
The area where Pennell was found is home to U.S. Social Security Administration offices—and to a sizable homeless population. “We need help from the public,” Masterson said.
Witnesses or anyone else with information on the case was asked to call detectives at 213-382-9470.
Advertising disclosure: We may receive compensation for some of the links in our stories. Thank you for supporting LA Weekly and our advertisers.