Police are searching for any clues that could help them find the perpetrator or perpetrators involved in the killings of two models in downtown Los Angeles in the span of one week. 

The first woman whose death was announced was identified as 31-year-old model and real estate agent Maleesa Mooney

She was found dead in her luxury apartment in Bunker Hill on Tuesday by officers conducting a welfare check after she abruptly stopped answering calls or texts from her family. 

“When a week went by, we just knew something was off,” said Bailey Babb, Maleesa Mooney’s cousin. “Her messages weren’t delivering and we knew something was up because we all have a special relationship with Maleesa.” 

31-year-old aspiring model and real estate agent Maleesa Mooney was found dead in her DTLA apartment
Maleesa Mooney as seen in an undated photo. (Courtesy: Jourdin Pauline)

Police did not release any details about any possible injuries or a possible cause of death for Mooney, however they did confirm that her death was being investigated as a homicide. 

Just three days later, authorities announced the death of another model, 32-year-old Nichole “Nikki” Coats.

Coats was found dead in her apartment by concerned family members on Sept. 10 after she wouldn’t answer attempts to contact her for days.

“I couldn’t recognize her,” said May Stevens, Nikki’s aunt and one of the family members who made the gruesome discovery. “I believe it was murder, I really do.” 

According to Coats’ loved ones, the last they heard from Nikki, she told them that she was going out on a date on Friday, Sept. 8. It would be the last conversation she would have with them. 

The two incidents occurred less than three miles apart, and while Mooney’s case is being considered a murder, as of Sunday, Coats’ case is still considered a “suspicious” death. 

Loved ones are distraught after model Nichole Coats, 32, known as Nikki, was found dead inside her apartment in downtown Los Angeles on Sept. 10, 2023. (GoFundMe)
Nichole “Nikki” Coats, 32, seen in an undated photo. (GoFundMe)

Family members of both women emphasized the fact that each were loved and adored by those they knew; Maleesa was described by her sister as a “peacemaker” and “backbone” of her family, and Nikki’s mother remembered her daughter as someone who “didn’t have any enemies” and was “loved by friends and the community.” 

No suspect description has been released, but the two devastated families are concerned that a serial killer may be looking for their next target. 

“I feel that there’s a predator loose,” Stevens said. 

According to the Los Angeles County Coroner’s Office, Nikki’s case remains open while her cause of death is determined. A GoFundMe was created to help her family with funeral expenses. 

Anyone with information regarding either case is urged to contact the Los Angeles Police Department at 1-877-527-3247.