Things That Matter

A Hiker Found The Decapitated Body Of a Man In Los Angeles’ Griffith Park

A hiker in Los Angeles was horrified to find a decapitated and dismembered body in Griffith Park, near the intersection of Griffith Park Drive and Camp Road, on Monday morning. Around 9 a.m., the hiker encountered the body of a white or Hispanic man who seemed to be in his forties or fifties, immediately reporting it to local police. A homicide investigation was launched according to protocol, though Los Angeles Police Department Lt. Ryan Rabbet did tell the media that investigators do not believe a crime was committed. As of now, detectives are investigating the possibility that the victim had been living near the park in a homeless encampment.

Although the police don’t believe that foul play was involved, they cannot yet say for sure what the cause of death was.

Credit: visitcalifornia.com

Because the body was found in Griffith Park, authorities have suggested that the body may have been mutilated by wildlife—though, based on the wildlife that inhabit the park—this outcome is somewhat unlikely.

According to LAPARKS.org, Griffith Park is home to a variety of mammalian species, including mule deer, raccoon, coyote, gray fox, opossum, skunk, bobcat, and mountain lion. While raccoons can be aggressive, deaths that result from a raccoon encounter are usually due to the contraction of rabies following a bite. In the case of coyotes, the only known fatal coyote attack on an adult occurred in 2009, when Canadian country folk singer Taylor Mitchell was mauled by several coyotes on Cape Breton Highlands National Park‘s Skyline Trail in Nova Scotia. The only remaining animals that could have decapitated and dismembered the body found on Monday are bobcats or mountain lions—and even that is dubious.

Although bobcats and mountain lions have been known to attack humans, it happens very rarely. Both feline species are largely solitary. They normally hunt at night and hide out during the day, generally avoiding humans unless infected with rabies, which can make them unusually aggressive (in this case, they have been known to occasionally attack unprovoked). Three has never been a fatal mountain lion attack in Los Angeles County, and fewer than thirty in all of North America, according to the Mountain Lion Foundation.

Plus, there is only one known mountain lion currently living in Griffith Park—a male known as P-22, whose past diet and behavior patterns do not suggest he would have attacked a human.

Credit: Steve Winter/National Geographic

While it could still be possible that a wild animal caused this man’s death, officials have speculated that a homeless person may have died of other causes in or near the park, only to be later dismembered by an animal—not only was the body’s head missing, but various body parts were also found scattered throughout the surrounding area. The man is estimated to have died two to three days before the body’s discovery.

“The evidence suggests that the person had passed away and animals may have gotten to it, possibly a homeless individual staying up in the area,” said LAPD Lt. Ryan Rabbet.

 Still, detectives are proceeding with a murder investigation.

Griffith Park is located in city Council District 4, which has seen a 53% increase of homeless populations just this year—the highest jump in all of Los Angeles.

Credit: Los Angeles Times

According to the Los Angeles Homeless Service Authority, Council District 4 has seen a 111% increase of Hispanic/Latinx homeless populations between 2018 and 2019—the highest of any ethnic group. As a way of addressing the current boost in homeless numbers, City Councilman David Ryu proposed the construction of a new housing shelter on the southern end of Griffith Park. The shelter, as it’s been proposed, would be able to provide 100 people with shelter, and while the project could cost up to $4.6 billion, officials say that it would be fully funded through the city’s “A Bridge Home” program, which receives funding through California’s state budget surplus. According to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s website, Los Angeles alone received $85 million in 2018 and $124 million from the state in 2019 to bring our unhoused neighbors indoors. 

The “A Bridge Home” program was first introduced by Garcetti in April of 2018 as an initiative to implement temporary emergency shelters throughout the city. Each shelter is scheduled to remain for a period of three years. The first shelter was erected in September of last year, and five additional shelters have emerged since then.

When speaking about the forthcoming shelter in Griffith Park, David Ryu said, “In times of crisis, parks have always helped meet our highest challenges and serve our greatest needs. By opening up this lot to Bridge Housing, we will not only meet the crisis of our time, but we will also help build community around this shared purpose of ending homelessness.”   

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Hundreds Gather to Mourn Yadhira Romero Martinez, Who Was Violently Murdered in Minnesota

Things That Matter

Hundreds Gather to Mourn Yadhira Romero Martinez, Who Was Violently Murdered in Minnesota

Photo via GoFundMe

Last Thursday, 19-year-old Yadhira Romero Martinez left work. Her housemate, Jose Daniel Cuenca-Zuniga’s, picked her up and drove her home. Surveillance footage showed her entering her home with Cuenca-Zuniga at 6pm. After that, no one ever heard from her again.

On Friday, authorities found Yadhira Romero Martinez dead in the room she rented in Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Police found her “with a plastic bag lying across her forehead and wearing only a T-shirt.” There were bruises on her face and her neck. She had “what appeared to be handprints outlined in blood on her thighs.”

Yadhira Romero Martinez rented a room from a woman who owned a home in Minneapolis. She shared the house with at least one other renter, the aforementioned Jose Daniel Cuenca-Zuniga. Romero Martinez had moved from Mexico to Minneapolis last September. According to her family, she had moved to the U.S. for “a better life”.

By Friday, the homeowner realized that something was wrong. Through a cracked door, she saw Romero Martinez laying unconscious on her bed.

Cuenca-Zuniga told the homeowner that Yadhira had simply had too much to drink. But shortly after, the young man packed his belongings and fled. The homeowner then called the authorities after repeatedly knocking on the door and getting no answer.

On Sunday, police tracked down Jose Daniel Cuenca-Zuniga in Ohio, where he had fled. Police have since charged Cuenca-Zuniga with intentional second-degree murder.

Yadhira’s family, as well as the Minneapolis community at large, are grieving over the death of a bright young woman who “didn’t have a bad bone in her body.”

On Saturday, hundreds gathered in Minneapolis to attend the vigil of Yadhira Romero Martinez. Many of the mourners spoke about how the young woman’s murder was an act of misogynistic femicide.

“I didn’t know Yadhira, but I’m here because I’m a woman, like her, and I’m an immigrant, like her,” said one of the attendees to Fox 9 News. “And I’m scared that that’s going to happen to me.”

“It breaks my heart seeing just a Hispanic woman, lady, that gets her life taken away, you know, without doing nothing, without harming nobody,” said vigil attendee, Cesar Vence to WCCO. “Why do these things have to happen, you know, to a young lady that just comes from Mexico to work and support her family?”

On Facebook, Yadhira’s cousin, Jun Romero, wrote a passionate eulogy that doubled as a call-to-action.

“To have her life taken so soon to such a violent and disgusting way was something she didn’t deserve. No one deserves that,” he wrote. “She was my cousin. She was a daughter. She was a sister. SHE WAS A PERSON. I love her and I will miss her.”

He finished his post with: “Please protect your sisters and educate your boys/men. Machismo, sexism, and violence exist in every nook and cranny of our lives no matter how small. If you see it, stop it. Unlearn to stay silent in these matters for the sake of women and fem-presenting people everywhere. She didn’t deserve this and you don’t either.”

Her family set up a GoFundMe page to raise enough funds to “transport her body to Mexico so her parents can do a funeral service”. You can donate here.

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3 Sites That Have Super-Fast Shipping For Your Last-Minute Mother’s Day Buys

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3 Sites That Have Super-Fast Shipping For Your Last-Minute Mother’s Day Buys

Listen, we get it. These days are hectic, crazy and very nearly apocalyptic. Whether you’re juggling your work from home routine or dealing with your kids, finding the perfect Mother’s Day Gift might be harder this year than most.

When it comes to this, know that we’ve got your back and understand that procrastination happens. To help we put together the top three Mother’s Day gifts that’ll help you navigate fast-shipping.

Check them out below.

Etsy

Etsy now allows an option that will allow you to search results by delivery date ensuring one-of-a-kind options that will arrive just in time for Mother’s Day. From handmade sweaters, specialty baskets soaps, candles, and embroidered pillows you’ll be able to find it all.

Amazon.com

No doubt for the extreme procrastinator Amazon guarantees on-time shipping for just about everyone. While Prime members are more likely to strike shipping gold with orders from the site, shoppers who’ve yet to subscribe to the premiere membership will likely not be disappointed in last-minute shipping fees.

Start off with Amazon Handmade and their Mother’s Day gift guide.

Nordstrom

Nordstrom now offers all sorts of quick delivery options. From their expedited shipping and pick-up in store to curbside pickup, the big box retailer options all sorts of Mother’s Day goods for the last-minute shopper!

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