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Scottish Charity Register No. SC043760

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Five shot at homeless camp in LA

May 23 2009
Police find no motive or suspects in their murder investigation at the freeway encampment Five people have been found dead at a homeless encampment in Los Angeles, USA. Police discovered the three men and two women on Sunday, 2rd November, after receiving a tip-off from an anonymous caller, made from a payphone at about 8.30am. They initially reported that the five victims were homeless, but now say that is unconfirmed. According to the Los Angeles Times, two of the victims were identified as Lorenzo Perez Villacana, 44, and Vanessa Malaepule. Relatives of Ms Malaepule say she was not homeless, just visiting her boyfriend, who lived at the camp and is also thought to be among the dead. The remaining victims, according to police, were a Middle Eastern man in his 40s, a white man in his 50s and a Latino woman in her 20s. No motive or suspects have been identified, and the investigation was slowed by rain and dense shrubbery around the crime scene. However, neighbours reported hearing gunfire, yelling and a car pulling away at around 12.15am on Sunday. Investigators also received reports that there may have been drugs sales at the encampment. The encampment sits between two freeways and is obscured by heavy foliage. An estimated 1,100 homeless men and women are believed to live in the jumble of highway "crawl spaces", underbrush and crude shelters in the Los Angeles River corridor.