LOS ANGELES (KTLA) -- At about 2:05 p.m. Sunday, a family of six stopped at a restaurant on Whittier Blvd. in Pico Rivera, and four children, ages 18, 13, 11 and 8, were left in the back seats of their van with the engine running and air conditioning on while their parents went into the business to buy food, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department reported in news release.
Jose Elias Aguilar, 26, saw no one in the front seat of the van and jumped, Sheriff’s Lt. Barry Hall said. Aguilar allegedly yelled at the children to get out, but drove off at a high rate of speed before they were able to.
“The 18-year-old daughter fought with the suspect briefly and then she came out of the van,” Hall said at a news conference Sunday. “She got pushed out of the van or jumped out of the van. As did her 11-year-old brother.”
The 8-year-old boy was then “forcefully ejected” out of the van as it drove between 45 and 50 mph, the Sheriff’s Department said. Seconds later the 13-year-old girl was ejected at the intersection of Lindsey Avenue and Whittier Boulevard. LASD officials said she “struck a stationary object” and died at the scene.
Her family and the Norwalk Sheriff’s Station later identified her as Isabella Cortes.
The van crashed into another vehicle and then continued driving another 3 miles, Hall said. Sheriff’s officials said Aguilar tried to steal another car from a man whose wife and child were inside, but the driver fought with Aguilar for about 100 yards and ended when that car crashed into a nearby bridge.
Aguilar, of Los Angeles, was taken to a nearby hospital for treatment. He was arrested on suspicion of murder, kidnapping and carjacking, according to the Sheriff’s Department.