Trinity Love Jones, who was identified by her family and law enforcement as the 9-year-old girl whose body was found inside a duffel bag in Hacienda Heights, was described as a “social butterfly” whose smile brightened the room.
Emiel Hunt, a convicted child abuser and the boyfriend of Trinity’s mother Taquesta Graham, now stands accused of Trinity’s murder. Authorities announced those charges on March 12, 2019.
In a press statement, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department publicly confirmed the identity of the deceased girl whose body was found near an equestrian trail. Trinity’s dad told CBS LA that DNA was used to identify her, as well as a chipped tooth.
“My kids are my world. #TrinityLoveJones Daddy is so hurt right now,” Antonio Jones, Trinity’s dad, wrote on his Facebook page.
“Investigators have detained two persons of interest in this case and they are actively continuing their investigation,” authorities said, but they did not identify those people. They later announced charges against only one person – Emiel Hunt.
“Today, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner- Coroner’s Office confirmed the identity of the victim as Trinity Love Jones, FB/9 years old, a resident of Los Angeles County,” sheriff’s officials wrote. “Although the Coroner’s Office determined the death to be a homicide, the cause of death is being withheld.”
Hacienda Heights is a neighborhood in Los Angeles, California. “These are the hardest cases to handle,” sheriff’s officials said in an earlier news conference, pledging to “find the reason for this child’s death…our investigators are working diligently on it…It’s just a tragic situation.”
Emiel Hunt, who says on Facebook that he is in a relationship with a woman who is Trinity’s mother per other social media posts, is currently being held in the Los Angeles County Jail on $2 million bail and a felony accusation, online records show. However, it’s not clear whether that March 9, 2019 arrest is related or not to Trinity’s death, and the specific charge is not detailed.
KTLA-TV is reporting that family members claim the persons of interest are Taquesta Graham and her boyfriend, Emiel Hunt. Jail records do show Hunt is in custody as noted above; however, Graham is not listed in the jail’s inmate database by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Taquesta Graham is a registered sex offender. You can read more about her background here.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Girl Was Wearing a Shirt That Read ‘Future Princess Hero’
In a press conference, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released pictures of the clothing that the deceased girl was wearing. That was before the child was confirmed to be Trinity Jones. Authorities were hoping someone would recognize the clothing and help identify Trinity.
However, the clothing – with its bubbly and positive child’s slogan – managed to tragically capture the future that the small girl will no longer get to live. According to the photos released, Trinity was wearing a pink shirt that bore the words “future princess hero” when she died.
“The young girl was found to be wearing a pink, long sleeve shirt with gray panda print pants (actual clothing depicted). She stood approx. 4 ft, 5 inch. tall and weighed about 55 lbs. No obvious signs of trauma were found on the victim’s body,” the Sheriff’s Department said in a release.
“We have no leads,” authorities said in an earlier news conference. They also said they did not have any suspects. However, they later updated that information by saying they’d detained two persons of interest. They think the body was placed on the trail on a Sunday afternoon.
The child’s death was later ruled a homicide. However, authorities have not revealed the child’s specific cause of death beyond that. The bag was located “at the bottom of an embankment,” said authorities.
Meanwhile, the arrest of Hunt is raising eyebrows due to the large bail amount. Authorities have not commented on any possible connection, though.
Emiel Hunt’s Facebook profile reads, “#DEFINITELY 1 OF THA REALEST (N word) TIL THIS DAY! 100%💪.”
The page says he’s from San Diego. He’s in a relationship with a woman who has photos of Trinity on her Facebook page and whose relatives have sounded off angrily on Facebook about the death. She’s Trinity’s mom, according to various social media posts. Trinity’s dad referred to Hunt as “the boyfriend of my baby momma” on Facebook. Hunt’s top post is a ribald joke about R. Kelly in prison.
2. The Child’s Body Was Left Near an Equestrian Trail & Was Protruding From the Bag
On March 5, 2019, the child’s body was discovered on an equestrian trail near a Buddhist temple, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department said in the news conference, calling the child’s death “suspicious.” The body was found down an embankment just below the temple at around 10 a.m.
“The victim was dumped at the location some time during the late evening hours. The victim was discovered by county workers who were there clearing some brush,” authorities said. “The victim was found partially inside of a black rollaway type duffel bag.”
The upper portion of the victim was “protruding” from the bag, authorities said. Authorities said the victim was about 4 foot 5 inches tall. Investigators did not observe obvious signs of trauma to the victim’s body. The autopsy determined the cause of death.
The motive was listed as being unknown. Authorities held the news conference in the hopes that witnesses would come forward who might have seen a vehicle pulled over to the side of the road or who would recognize the bag.
3. Trinity Love Jones Was Described as Full of Character & Life
Antonio Jones, the father of Trinity Love Jones, told KTLA-TV that the girl was “just the best. Full of character, full of life, full of joy.”
“Words can’t explain what I’m feeling right now,” he said. “I just want answers. I just want justice,” he said.
He has also posted Facebook Live videos about the girl’s death. In one, a woman tells Jones that a detective has asked the family not to talk to the press, but he keeps the video going, and you can hear part of the call. “This is my daughter who was found in a suitcase. My daughter Trinity,” he says at one point. “She was the youngest out of my three girls.”
People with tips can call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Tips can also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.
It’s not clear whether the child was alive when placed in the bag, authorities said. They would not comment on whether there were any items in the bag along with the girl’s body.
It’s not clear whether the child was reported missing. There was no publicly visible previous post about the child being missing on her dad’s Facebook page. In one post made after Trinity’s death, Antonio Jones alleged, “Its crazy i been asking her and this dude to let me see my daughter . just bring me my daughter…”
The National Center for Missing and Endangered, Inc. wrote on Facebook:
“Little girl who was dumped beside the road in a black suit case in Hacienda Heights has been identified as 9 year old Trinity Jones***
BREAKING: Little girl whose body was found dumped in Hacienda Heights has been identified by extended family members as Trinity Jones.
There is a lot happening right now and many questions still need to be answered.
Meanwhile, the first piece of the puzzle is now in place.
This baby girl, formerly known as Jane Doe #11, is Trinity.
She has a name.
She has a story.
And someone is responsible for her death.”
Asked by a comment thread writer if the girl was reported missing before her death, the center wrote, “we do not have that information all the information we have is posted above.”
An extended family member claimed on Facebook, in a comment similar to the dad’s, that Trinity was “not reported missing because her mother kept her away from us. Every time we asked about her she would say she was okay. She enrolled her in home school so she basically was with the mother and boyfriend the whole time…we all reached out, we called dcfs. nobody would listen.”
4. Trinity Was Described as a Child Whose Smile Would ‘Light Up the Moment’
In tributes posted online, people remembered the little girl’s potential. They wondered: How could someone have done something so awful to someone so small, innocent, and full of life?
“Trinity Love Jones was Bright, Full of Life, and Had a Smile that would Brighten Up the Moment of those around Her. It’s what stood out the Most, like with most Children,” wrote one man.
“Her Curiosities often raised awareness that Left one Enlightened if they were to ever encounter one of her many keen Questions. She enjoyed Fashion, and often played Dress Up, which was one of Her favorite pastime activities. Dainty, Prissy, and a Social Butterfly, She will be Greatly Missed and Celebrated by Close Family and Friends. Funds are being raised to help with Homegoing costs and arrangements. Any amount is Appreciated, and Thanks Ahead of Time for your Love and Support.”
5. A Memorial Has Grown in Memory of Trinity Love Jones
A memorial has already sprouted up in the memory of Trinity Love Jones.
According to NBC Los Angeles, family members added Trinity’s picture “to the abundance of flowers, balloons and candles” that people have placed at the spot where the girl’s body was found.
In a Facebook Live post, Antonio Jones thanked people for showing love and support for his daughter. “That was my baby they found,” he said.