Long Beach police seek clues in shooting and kidnapping, murder of baby

LONG BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The search continues for the suspect who kidnapped a 3-week-old infant after shooting her parents and uncle at a Long Beach home. The infant, identified as Eliza Delacruz, was found dead in a dumpster in San Diego County Sunday.

San Diego County Sheriff's Department responded to the 600 block of Palm Drive in Imperial Beach after a homeless man digging through a dumpster found the baby's body face down inside a garbage bag.

Long Beach detectives traveled down to San Diego County to investigate and confirmed that the body belonged to Eliza.

The San Diego County medical examiner's office said it was unknown where or when the infant died before her body was found. An autopsy had not yet been performed, and no cause of death was released.

Investigators say, at this point, they do not have a specific suspect. Detectives believe an adult male suspect may have taken Delacruz and fled. The relationship between the suspect and victims is unknown.

Long Beach Police Chief Robert Luna and Mayor Robert Garcia held a news conference Monday pleading for the public's help.

"Eliza Delacruz, as we all know, her life was just beginning and it was quickly taken away, and all due to a senseless act of violence. The city of Long Beach will not stand for violence in our community, especially against our children," said Garcia. "And to the person or persons responsible for the death of Eliza Delacruz, please know that our police officers will do everything in their power to find you, to arrest you and to bring you to justice."

The child's father was released from the hospital Sunday. The baby's mother and uncle remain in the hospital in critical but stable condition.

"The father of the baby is OK. My older son is still in critical condition as well as the mother. First of all, I thank everybody for all the prayers," said Eliza's grandmother, who wished to remain anonymous.

Friends stopped by to light candles outside the family's home in Long Beach Monday.

"This is very sad. This was no gang retaliation or no stupid cartel stuff like that. This was just hatred," said Aaron Cruz, a family friend.

The names of the victims were not released, but police say they have been interviewed.

"To take a precious child from home, throw her in a dumpster like a piece of trash is something only a very heartless person would do. We need to get the coward who committed this violence, senseless act off the street, but we absolutely need the public's help to do this," said Luna. "Somebody somewhere saw something and we need you to come forward."

While Long Beach police search for a motive, the victims' family is also seeking answers.

"We don't have no idea, no idea whatsoever. My family is a good people, working, studying no troubles whatsoever," said Eliza's grandmother.

The suspect was described as an adult male, possibly black or Hispanic. Luna said the department will be working with a sketch artist as their investigation continues.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is expected to announce a $10,000 reward in any information leading up to an arrest in the case Tuesday morning, Luna said.

The investigation is ongoing. Anyone with information was urged to call Long Beach Homicide Detectives Donald Goodman and Mark Mattia at (562) 570-7244. Anyone wishing to remain anonymous may call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477), or text TIPLA plus your tip to 274637 (CRIMES), or visit www.lacrimestoppers.org.

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