Los Angeles County sheriff's officials announced the arrest of Emiel Hunt on Tuesday. The 38-year-old was charged with one count of murder and was expected to be arraigned later in the day, the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office said.
Hunt is accused of killing Trinity Love Jones on or around March 1, the DA's office said, citing the criminal complaint. The complaint also states that Hunt was convicted of child abuse in San Diego County in 2005.
Hunt was arrested on Saturday March 9 after investigators found him sleeping in his vehicle, which was parked in a lot near San Diego International Airport, sheriff's investigators said.
He appeared in a Pomona courtroom on Tuesday. Some of Trinity's family members had a tense exchange with him during his appearance.
"Trinity was trapped with a monster," said the girl's uncle, Jamiel. "Nobody knew."
"Seeing him was unbearable. I wasn't myself. I'm sorry.
Barbara Jones, Trinity's grandmother, described the rage she felt upon seeing Hunt in the courtroom: "How did I feel? Enraged. I felt like a monster. I wanted to do to him what he did to her, what's alleged he did to her."
Trinity Love Jones's body was found inside a duffel bag last week, dumped near an equestrian trail near Colima Road and Hacienda Boulevard in Hacienda Heights.
Two persons of interest were detained in the case, which was described by sheriff's officials as a homicide investigation. The second person of interest in the case has not yet been identified.
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Hunt is currently being held on $2 million bail. If convicted as charged, Hunt faces a possible maximum sentence of 50 years to life in state prison.
In the meantime, the family remains in grieving and has gathered more than once around a makeshift memorial near the site where Trinity's body was found.
"I just want to focus on the love of my daughter, how she was took too soon," said her father, Antonio Jones. "She's an angel now."
If you have any relevant information about this case, you're urged to contact the sheriff's department's homicide bureau at (323) 890-5500. You can also submit anonymous tips by calling Crime Stoppers at 800-222-TIPS (8477).