Four people have been arrested in connection with the January death of a 3-week-old girl who was kidnapped from a home in Long Beach, allegedly as part of a plot by a Thousand Oaks woman to show to her boyfriend that she had given birth to his twins, police said Wednesday.
The body of Eliza Delacruz was found in a dumpster in San Diego County less than 24 hours after her Jan. 3 abduction, which left her parents and uncle injured.
In describing the bizarre and complicated case at a Wednesday evening news conference, police said they were still trying to figure out why Delacruz was killed.
They said detectives had determined that Giseleangelique D’Milian, 47, of Thousand Oaks had allegedly hatched a plot to kidnap two children to show her boyfriend she had given birth to his twins.
She told him she had delivered the babies out of the country in December 2014, Long Beach Police Department Chief Robert Luna said at the news conference. The boyfriend, who name was not disclosed, is married and has his own family, investigators said.
D'Milian allegedly claimed to have a charitable organization that sought to help young mothers and was looking for infants 1 to 2 months old to assist, police said. Through connections related to her efforts, she found the Long Beach family of Eliza Delacruz.
"This is just unbelievable," Luna said. "I've never seen anything like this ... where somebody goes looking for babies to kidnap and they attempt to kill the mothers."
About five weeks after Delacruz's kidnapping, one of D'Milian's three alleged co-conspirators assaulted a young mother who was an acquaintance of D'Milian in an El Segundo hotel room, police said.
That 23-year-old victim, who was attacked Feb. 6, was severely beaten with a baseball bat as Anthony McCall, 29, allegedly tried to take her 4-month-old son, police said. She survived and the baby was not kidnapped or injured, police said. McCall fled after employees knocked on the hotel room door, according to a news release that Long Beach police issued Wednesday evening.
"The victim was specifically targeted because of her child’s age and because D’Milian knew where to find the woman," the release state. "D’Milian put a plan into motion to have McCall kill the mother in El Segundo and kidnap her baby, so D’Milian could pretend to be its mother and convince her boyfriend that it was their son."
The El Segundo investigation was initially into an attempted murder but not a kidnapping, police said. Long Beach detectives contacted El Segundo police about the case in mid-February.
"We're still in the process of putting a puzzle together. It's a big puzzle," Luna said. "The people who commit these crimes are just evil in nature."
D'Milian's daughter, 30-year-old Charisse Shelton, and Todd Boudreaux, 44, were arrested on suspicion of being an accessory after the fact.
D'Milian and McCall were being held on suspicion of murder, attempted murder, kidnapping and conspiracy.
The four suspects were all arrested Wednesday morning, police. No booking photos were released.
Both D'Milian and McCall were initially held on $1 million bail but police later said they were being held without bail. Shelton's and Boudreaux's initial bail amounts were raised from $20,000 to $1 million and no bail, respectively.
Several social media accounts were created under D'Milian's unusual name. On a private Twitter profile under the name, a photo was posted with the words "twins with the man I absolutely love."
Police asked for helping finding anyone who may have had contact with D'Milian or her associates about her efforts to reach out to women with babies.
The shooting that ended in Delacruz's kidnapping occurred about 5:50 p.m. Jan. 3 in the 100 block of West 51st Street (map), at the home of Eliza's family.
The baby was being carried by her mother while riding the bus in the area earlier that day, and they were followed by D'Milian, who was driving a black Range Rover, police said. After the mother and child exited the bus, surveillance video showed, the Range Rover pulled up and the driver inquired about the child, police said.
About two hours later, McCall went to the family's home, shot the baby's mother, father and uncle, and kidnapped baby Eliza, police said. The baby was found in a dumpster the following day in Imperial Beach.
Detectives later contacted the bus company and found other surveillance videos, which apparently show the same SUV following the bus while Eliza and her mother were passengers.
Also on March 18, investigators released two composite sketches, which they said depicted the woman who was driving the Range Rover and the man who forced his way into the home on West 51st Street and kidnapped the 3-week-old girl.
A $25,000 reward was offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or persons involved in Eliza’s death.
Anyone who may have been contacted by D'Milian was urged to call Long Beach Homicide Detail at 562-570-7244. Anyone with a tip on the El Segundo investigation was asked to call Detective Luke Muir at 310-524-2263.
Anonymous tips may be given at 800-222-8477, or by texting TIPLA plus the information tip to 274637, or at LACrimeStoppers.org.
A GoFundMe account has been set up for the family of Eliza Delacruz.
Watch below: Surveillance videos released by the Long Beach Police Department.