death of young latina hiplatina
Photo: gofundme.com
News and Entertainment

Family Demands Justice After 18-Year-Old Latina’s Body Found in Riverbed

The body of 18-year-old Aisha Nava Míreles was found under a bridge in Los Angeles on March 29, 2021, and despite clear signs of a struggle and her family’s suspicions that she was kidnapped and murdered, police have closed the case and are not going to investigate her death further. Police allegedly ruled Aisha’s death a suicide, but when her mother returned to the site where her body was found, she says she found evidence police failed to collect that may indicate foul play. The family lives in Hawaiian Gardens, the smallest city in LA County with a population of about 14,000, and her mom is originally from Ecatepec de Morelos, Mexico, according to Conexion Migrante.

According to a Facebook post created by Aisha’s uncle Dani Hermosillo, Aisha, who was described by her mother as an “excellent daughter and outstanding student,” left to meet a friend two blocks from her home on March 28 and never returned. Her mother Natalie is an undocumented immigrant and had to be at work at 3 in the morning so she’d asked Aisha to not come home late because she had to care for her two younger sisters, she told Conexion Migrante. She does not speak English but she called the police who she said didn’t seem too interested in the pursuing the case as she was 18, she told the publication. They then visited her to inform her that Aisha’s body had been found under a bridge in Compton at Somerset Boulevard, about 20 minutes from Hawaiian Gardens. She was able to identify Aisha and she says they ruled it a suicide but she disputes that claim.

Natalie decided to return to the bridge where her daughter’s body was found, and Dani says she was shocked to find her daughter’s glasses as well as a tooth and her backpack with a tear that had gone uncollected by the police department. Natalie took this as a sign that the police had been negligent in the handling of the case which has since been closed by police.

“Right now as a family we find ourselves asking for serious investigation. And that Aisha’s grandmother and her aunt (Natalie’s sister) can go with her,” Dani wrote on Facebook. He says the family is also attempting to get temporary Visas for Aisha’s grandmother and aunt to enter the United States to be with Natalie.

Natalie crossed the U.S. border with Aisha eight years ago and believes the police are not taking Aisha’s death seriously because she’s undocumented. Although there has been very little media coverage of Aisha’s case, Natalie did speak to Noticias 22 and MundoHispánico. The family is trying to bring greater attention to the police handling of Aisha’s death and continue to push for justice for her daughter.

“Someone put out Aisha’s flame of life and left a dry silence in her place. The police do not intend to find and punish the culprits. We cannot allow this crime to go unpunished, let’s tell the world that Aisha is not just another number in the statistics, but that she is another woman who is taken from our homes and our hearts,” she told the media outlet in Spanish, also noting that she was not provided an interpreter by police despite the language barrier. “I think that perhaps because she is my Mexican daughter, the police are not giving interest to the case,” she added.

Aisha’s family has started a GoFundMe to collect funds for her funeral, noting that Aisha helped her mother care for her two younger sisters. The original goal of $15,000 has been met, and the fund organizer has stated that additional funds will be used toward legal fees and expenses incurred by Natalie as they seek justice for Aisha. The family has asked for help from LA sheriff Alex Villanueva, Mayor Eric Garcetti, Ambassador Marcela Celorio Mancera who is the Consul General of Mexico, and Governor Gavin Newsom to help.

“I’m only one woman, without family in this country. I don’t speak English. I feel like the police isn’t doing anything to investigate the death of my daughter,” Natalie told Conexion Migrante.

Update April 19, 2021

Nava’s cause of death has been deferred, pending additional investigation, according to the L.A. County Medical Examiner-Coroner records, ABC reported. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department states that deputies are actively investigating the case yet according to the family they still have no answers.

On Saturday, April 17, dozens of friends and family gathered  near the riverbed where her body was found demanding answers. “I hope that this protest does a difference because she deserves better than this,” Nava’s friend Jacqueline Aguilar said, ABC reported. “I know she didn’t kill herself. I know someone did it to her. I just hope that she didn’t suffer.”