The Los Angeles Police Department said Tuesday there appears to be "no evidence" of a connection between the deaths of two models found inside separate luxury apartments in downtown L.A. within the last week.
On Sept. 10, 32-year-old Nichole Coats was found dead inside her apartment in the 700 block of South Grand Avenue, according to a LAPD news release. Her death is not being investigated as a homicide, according to the LAPD and the L.A. County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner. No further information about her death was available Tuesday.
About a mile away, a second model, 31-year-old Maleesa Clooney, was found two days later in her apartment in the 200 block of South Figueroa Street while officers were responding to a radio call for a welfare check, according to the LAPD. Her death is being investigated as a homicide.
The LAPD said in a statement Tuesday that "there is no evidence to suggest that the deaths of Ms. Coats and Ms. Mooney are related to one another." The LAPD is still investigating the cause of death for both women; no further details about the case will be released during the active investigation.
Still, LAPD Officer Tony Im said Tuesday the circumstances of Coats' death showed nothing "that stood out to us that would make it a homicide so we need the coroner to do an examination of the body to see what caused the death."
But Coats' aunt, May Stephen, told KTLA that she believes her niece, who went by Nikki, was murdered.
“I couldn’t recognize her,” Steven said, describing Coats' body. “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.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.