A 20-year-old woman was killed Monday morning when she allegedly jumped out of a moving vehicle in Orange County.
The incident occurred about 1:30 a.m. near the intersection of Imperial Highway and Laurel Avenue, Brea Police Department Lt. Adam Hawley said.
Two female passengers who were in the vehicle at the time stayed at the scene and told officers the woman opened the door and jumped out for no apparent reason.
She was later identified as Dezirae Mendoza, a mother of two, by family members who gathered at the site of her death for a vigil.
Police confirmed the young woman’s identification on Tuesday morning.
A GoFundMe page set up to raise funds for Mendoza’s memorial described her as a “very outgoing, high spirited woman who means more than words can express.”
Mendoza’s cousin told KTLA no one in the family has any idea why she jumped from the car, and they have no clue who the man driving was, either.
The man behind the wheel fled the scene. He was later located by police at his home in Los Angeles County and taken into custody, Hawley said.
“Obviously we have a few questions we’re trying to ask … and that may determine whether or not there’s any criminal culpability in this case or whether this was merely just a simple tragedy that someone left a moving vehicle and sustained some fatal injuries from that,” Hawley said.
In a video statement on Facebook, later in the day, Hawley said the driver had been released pending further investigation. Police were not releasing the identities of the victim or driver, pending further investigation.
For now, no further action is being taken by police until more evidence is gathered, Hawley said. Once an autopsy is complete and more information is known, then authorities can get a “real holistic picture of what happened out there,” he said.
“And that may take some time,” he said.
Authorities were also trying to determine the relationships between all of the passengers and the driver.
It was unclear whether drugs or alcohol were involved.
An investigation is ongoing, and anyone with information is asked to call Brea police at 714-990-7625.