Woman in Custody After Body Found in Backyard of Harbor Gateway Home: LAPD

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A body could be seen in the back yard of a home in Harbor Gateway on Sept. 12, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

A body could be seen in the back yard of a home in Harbor Gateway on Sept. 12, 2018. (Credit: KTLA)

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A suspect was taken into custody after a man's body was discovered in the backyard of a Harbor Gateway home on Wednesday morning, police said.

Officers responded to the 800 block of 173rd Street just before 10 a.m. after Gardena police reported suspicious activity involving a female to LAPD, according to Los Angeles Police Department Officer Ray Brown.

Investigators learned that a woman appeared to be disposing a body in the rear of the property, sparking a homicide investigation, LAPD Officer Norma Eisenman said.

Neighbors said the man, a 62-year-old mechanic named Leon, had lived in the neighborhood for years but hadn't been seen in the last four or five days.

One resident who lived down the street from the slain individual told KTLA that the victim's friend went to the home to perform a welfare check when she couldn't reach him for several days.

"[She] came up and said, 'They killed my friend. They killed my friend.' So we went in the backyard and got halfway through the backyard and a lady ran in the house --she came out of the shed and ran back in the house," said the male neighbor, who did not want to be identified.

He did not see the body, but said a firefighter told him that a deceased person was found.

Sky5 aerial video over the scene showed what appeared to be a dead person on a dolly in the backyard of a single-story home near a shed. The body was wrapped in a black plastic bags or a tarp, and a small dog could be seen running around nearby.

There were also digging tools left out near a hole in the ground.

Nearly a dozen LAPD and Gardena Police Department patrol vehicles were parked on the residential street, and a police helicopter hovered overhead. A portion of the road was cordoned off with crime scene tape.

A woman was handcuffed by officers outside a home and escorted to an awaiting police vehicle shortly before noon, video from the scene showed.

LAPD Lt. Byron Roberts said it was clear something out-of-the-norm had occurred.

"Generally speaking, when someone passes, they notify the appropriate people, and the appropriate people respond," Roberts said. "People don't wrap people in anything and remove them from the place where they passed."

Neighbors said the woman had rented a room from the deceased man, but he was trying to evict her over possible drug use.

Police have not released the suspect's name, though LAPD Officer Tony Im confirmed to KTLA she was in custody.

Authorities have also not identified the victim.

KTLA's Jennifer Thang contributed to this story.

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