Police this week were seeking witnesses who might be able to shed light on the discovery of a UCLA student's body at a campus-adjacent apartment unit that had burned in a fire.
The victim was identified by her sorority, Pi Beta Phi, as Andrea “Andy” DelVesco of Austin, Texas. Coroner's officials, however, would not confirm that, citing a security hold activated by investigators.
UCLA police this week said homicide detectives were seeking witnesses who may have seen something the morning of the fire. According to the campus department's statement:
Los Angeles Police Department is investigating a fatal fire incident that occurred on the morning of Monday, September 21st, 2015 on the 10900 block of Roebling Avenue in the Westwood Community.
LAPD Officer Aareon Jefferson told us “we don't know at this point” if the case is a homicide.
“It's still a joint investigation with the fire department,” he said. “We're looking for anyone who has information on what happened.”
NBC Los Angeles cited a detective when it reported “there is evidence leading investigators to believe DelVesco was murdered prior to the Monday morning blaze in her apartment, and that the fire was likely set in an attempt to cover up the killing.”
An everyday death investigation might end up in the hands of local division detectives or with the West Bureau Homicide squad. This case is being handled by elite Robbery-Homicide Division investigators.
And the fire department's continued involvement could indeed indicate that the source of the fire is also under scrutiny.
LAPD detectives would not speak to L.A. Weekly and referred us to the department's Media Relations section.
The blaze was reported in a first-floor unit at 10954 Roebling Ave. at 7:05 a.m. Monday, the Los Angeles Fire Department's Erik Scott said.
It was doused by 32 firefighters in 15 minutes, but after that firefighters discovered the woman's body, he said.
DelVesco was identified by the UCLA Daily Bruin as a fourth-year student who was studying psychology and Spanish. The building reportedly was used by her sorority for housing.
Anyone with information on the case was asked to call the LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division at 213-486-6890.