California model Maleesa Mooney was found bound, gagged and beaten in her own refrigerator, a new report revealed
By Christina Coulter
A Los Angeles-based freelance model was found dead in her refrigerator with her ankles and wrists bound last month, a new report revealed.
An autopsy report released Friday indicated Maleesa Mooney, 31, was found severely beaten, bound and gagged, FOX 11 Los Angeles reported.
Mooney, who also worked as a real estate agent, was found dead in her apartment on Sept. 12.
She was last seen alive on surveillance footage in the apartment complex on Sept. 6, per a medical examiner report reviewed by FOX 11. An unidentified man was reportedly seen using her key fob to activate the building’s elevator and carrying plastic bags into her apartment.
Mooney’s family called on the Los Angeles Police Department to perform a welfare check on Sept. 10 after they were uncharacteristically unable to reach her for more than 24 hours.
Although an officer did respond to her residence at the Bunker Hill Towers Apartments, officers could not make contact with her and “left a card at her door,” sister Jourdin Pauline told Fox News Digital. That day, previously blue iPhone text messages from Mooney’s phone suddenly turned green, Pauline said, indicating that a thief may have changed her phone settings.
When building management let police into her apartment on Sept. 12, she was found “wedged inside a refrigerator” with blood outside it, FOX 11 reported.
A gag made of clothing was reportedly stuffed into her mouth and other items covered her head. Electrical cords and clothing were used to bind her extremities, ABC 7 reported.
The night before the family lost contact with Mooney, Pauline said, she was having friends over at her new apartment, where she had just moved a month earlier.
Mooney died from blunt force trauma, per the report, evidenced by abrasions, lacerations and contusions concentrated around her head and emanating to her body and extremities. Additionally, one of her ribs was fractured.
Though none of her injuries “are generally considered acutely life-threatening on their own,” the examiner wrote that “based on the circumstances of how Ms. Mooney was found… she was likely involved in [a] violent physical altercation prior to her death.”
Suffocation may have played a role in her death, per the report, and the role of drugs is “uncertain” – cocaine was reportedly found in her system post-mortem. No direct marks from strangulation were observed on Mooney’s body, per the report.
Mooney’s manner of death was listed as “homicidal violence.”
But no arrests have been made and no suspects in Mooney’s death have been publicly identified.
Fox News Digital could not reach the LAPD at press time for further details.
Pauline described Mooney as the “most amazing girl ever.”
“She loved to cook, she was very nice, very sweet genuine person,” she said on Friday. “She would ask a stranger how their day was going – just a very sweet, open-hearted person. She was very funny, very goofy. She could make a whole room laugh. And smart, and was very, very smart.”
Although she dabbled in freelance modeling, Mooney primarily worked as a real estate agent with Nest Seekers International.
“She was showing million-dollar homes and was in the process of closing a few,” Pauline said.
In an Instagram post featuring the hashtag #JUSTICEFORMALEESA, Pauline pleaded for answers and mourned her beloved sister.
“Never in a million years did I think I’d have to make this post and get justice for my one & only sister… my heart is crushed I can’t believe you won’t be here with us anymore,” she wrote. “This is so sick I can’t believe my big baby sister is gone… we will get justice for you my sister I promise you won’t be gone in vain!”