The woman, a Hispanic in her 20s, was found near the Dumpsters at the San Fernando Gardens housing complex just after 2 a.m. Los Angeles Police Detective Pat Barron said the Los Angeles Fire Department received a call about a woman in respiratory distress. By the time paramedics arrived at the scene, the woman was dead.
Witnesses described a gruesome scene.
"It seemed like she was beaten up because she had a lot of bruising. You could see her bruises, and she was literally turning purple," said neighbor Norma Buenostro.
Police also said they've had run-ins with the woman before, but they wouldn't elaborate how.
By late Monday morning, the coroner had removed the woman's body and an autopsy was under way. Barron said it is unknown if the woman was a victim of foul play. A cause of death has not yet been determined.
Meantime, a makeshift memorial to the woman was set up by friends and neighbors.
"I mean the way she was just dropped there, it's horrible," said Buenostro.
Anyone with information should call Los Angeles Regional Crime Stoppers at 1-800-222-8477.