A woman who police say was intentionally struck by a car during an argument in Long Beach last week died from her injuries on Sunday.
A man and woman already charged with assault in the alleged attack now potentially face more serious charges after 25-year-old Elizabeth Perez Espino of Long Beach died at a hospital, according to the Long Beach Police Department.
Harrison Samuel Bowser, 30, of Los Angeles, and Samantha Jo Smith, 26, of Long Beach, were arrested in the hours following the suspected attack, which took place about 3:30 a.m. Dec. 15 in a commercial area in the 400 block of West Anaheim Street, according to police and Los Angeles County booking records.
The suspects and victims all arrived at the location together, investigators said.
“The victim was engaged in an argument which escalated to a physical altercation with the female adult suspect. During the altercation, the male adult suspect drove the vehicle striking the victim and then fled the scene,” police said in a written statement.
Police identified Bowser and Smith as suspects and tracked them down, officials said. Smith was arrested the same morning in Huntington Beach, while Bowser was found and taken into custody that afternoon in Los Angeles.
Bowser pleaded not guilty Dec. 17 to charges of assault with a deadly weapon and felony hit-and-run, according to L.A. County Superior Court records. Smith pleaded not guilty the same day to a charge of assault by means likely to produce great bodily injury.
Both suspects were scheduled to return to court Thursday for pre-trial hearings.
Following Espino’s death Sunday, police said investigators planned to coordinate with prosecutors to revisit the charges, which could potentially be upgraded to manslaughter or murder.
Bowser remained in jail Monday with bail set at $120,000, records show. Smith was released from custody after posting bail Tuesday.
The relationship between the two suspects, as well as the relationship between the suspects and victim, were not clear.
Anyone with information can contact Long Beach Police Department homicide detectives at 562-570-7244. Tips may also be submitted anonymously to L.A. Regional Crime Stoppers at 800-222-8477.