Originally appeared on E! Online
Content warning: This story discusses homicidal violence.
More details are surfacing about the tragic killing of Maleesa Mooney.
The model, 31, was found dead in her downtown Los Angeles apartment on Sept. 12, prompting a homicide investigation. Her cause of death was later confirmed as "homicidal violence," according to the L.A. County Department of Medical Examiner, which noted that "other significant conditions" also contributed to her death.
Now, officials have determined that Mooney—who was two months pregnant at the time, according to her sister—was beaten and "wedged" inside her refrigerator, per an autopsy report published by local outlet KTLA Oct. 27.
The report stated that her wrists and ankles were bound together and then tied behind her back using "electronic cords and clothing items." Mooney was also found gagged with a piece of clothing in her mouth, with visible injuries to her head, torso and arms.
"The blunt force traumatic injuries observed at autopsy are generally not considered life-threatening on their own," the medical examiner said in the report. "However, based on the circumstances of how Ms. Mooney was found, these injuries suggest she was likely involved in [a] violent physical altercation prior to her death."
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Though toxicology testing showed that Mooney had traces of cocaine and alcohol in her system, the medical examiner noted in the report that it is "uncertain" if they played a part in her death due to the injuries observed on her body.
"Based on the history, circumstances, and autopsy findings, as currently known, Ms. Mooney's death was likely the result of, or at least related to, the action of another individual(s)," the report read. "Without findings to elucidate a clear mechanism of death, or knowledge of the sequence of events leading up to Ms. Mooney's death, the cause of death is deemed homicidal violence. The manner of death is homicide."
Mooney's body was discovered in her apartment on Sept. 12—six days after was she last seen alive on surveillance camera—during a welfare check performed by police at the request of her mother, according to the report. Two days after the gruesome discovery, Mooney's sister, Guyanese pop star Jourdin Pauline, spoke out about the violent attack and her heartbreak.
"This is so sick I can't believe my baby big sister is gone!!!" Pauline wrote on Instagram Sept. 14. "The reason I'm me is because of you!!! My first best friend the one who taught me everything I know!!!!!"
She added, "The people you touched and loved will carry on for you and keep your name alive in the most beautiful and loving light. You did not deserve this at all."
The singer also shared a GoFundMe page that paid tribute to Mooney as "an extremely sweet and generous soul."
"Even though she was taken in a vicious, senseless and heinous way we would like to remember Maleesa in all of the glorious ways God divinely made her to be," the page read. "She saw the good in everyone and lit up every room she entered. Maleesa was just as smart as she was beautiful and had one of the most compassionate and giving hearts you'd ever meet."
Fellow model Nichole Coats was also found dead in her downtown Los Angeles apartment two days before Mooney's body was discovered, sparking an investigation into any possible connection between the cases. However, police said on Sept. 20 that they had found "no evidence to suggest that the deaths of Ms. Coats and Ms. Mooney are related to one another."
Coats' death was later ruled an accident. The Los Angeles County Medical Examiner determined the 32-year-old died from cocaine and ethanol (drinking alcohol) toxicity, per records obtained by E! News Oct. 24.
Police had no update on Mooney's case when contacted by E! News on Oct. 27.
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