Family and friends of two Black fashion models found dead days apart last week in Los Angeles are expressing their fears of a possible serial killer after law enforcement officials concluded that at least one of the deaths was “suspicious.”
Nichole “Nikki” Coats, 32, was found dead by her father in her apartment on Sept. 10. Two days later, last Tuesday, Maleesa Mooney, 31, was similarly found dead in her apartment.
Mooney’s death is being investigated as a homicide.
Both women’s families have been speaking out and demanding answers to the deaths.
“This is senseless and I want some answers because my daughter is gone,” Sharon Coats, Nikki’s mother, told KTLA. “And it’s not fair. I want everybody to find out who did this to her. She shouldn’t be gone.”
Nikki’s aunt echoed that sentiment.
“We need to know what happened,” May Stevens said.
KTLA reported that Nikki was unrecognizable when she was found bloodied in her apartment.
“I couldn’t recognize her,” Stevens continued. “I believe it was murder, I really do. One of her legs was up in the air in a kicking position. That’s not somebody who just laid in their bed and died.”
Suggesting there could be a serial killer involved, Stevens added: “I feel that there’s a predator loose.”
An online crowdfunding effort has begun to pay for Nikki Coats’ funeral, a date for which was not immediately announced.
“Her untimely passing has left us shocked. There’s no way we could have imagined or prepared for this difficult time,” a statement on a GoFundMe page said in part. “As family and friends we are asking to pull together in support of funeral services on behalf of Nikki to help reduce the burden on her parents as they lay their only child to rest. All contributions big and small are appreciated. God bless you.”
It was unclear if Coats’ death was being investigated as the “murder” that her aunt suspects it was. The LA County Coroner’s Office is investigating and has not closed the case.
However, in the case of Mooney’s death, CBS News reported that the incident was specifically being treated as a homicide. Little information about Mooney’s death has been made available.
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According to her sister Jourdin Pauline, Mooney’s birthday was next month.
“Never in a million years did I think I’d have to make this post and get justice for my one & only sister,” Pauline wrote on Instagram.
Pauline continued saying she felt like she was in a “bad dream” and vowed to “get justice” for Mooney. She added that her older sister was “loving and so kind to everyone.”
The deaths of Nikki Coats and Mooney come months after a report found that there were elevated levels of crime being committed against Black women in Los Angeles.
The city released a report about six months ago detailing its findings from an investigation into local violence against Black women, which has been rising even as overall crime statistics were dropping, according to the Los Angeles Times.
“Black women experience a unique position of precarity as a result of decades of discrimination, grounded both in racism and sexism,” the report said in part.
The L.A. Times added: “Citing LAPD statistics, the report found that while Black women make up about 4.3% of the city’s population, they often account for 25% to 33% of its victims of violence.”
The report prompted local advocates to speak out and demand action be taken to protect Black women.
“There is a history of non-action regarding violence against [B]lack women,” Marsha Mitchell, communications director for the nonprofit advocacy group Community Coalition, told the L.A. Times.
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