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The family of a California nurse who was found dead in her apartment over the weekend said the mother of six children and been gagged, tied up, and wrapped in a sheet.
The body of Fatima Johnson, 53, was located in her Los Angeles home around midnight on July 4, according to police. Johnson’s daughters, who made the discovery, hadn’t seen or heard from their mother in days. Her hands were bound with wire, they said.
“The scene that my sisters and I...witnessed first-hand and what happened to my mother is something that no child should ever see of their parent," Tyesha Harvey told KABC.
Johnson was pronounced dead at the scene. A motive hasn’t been released by investigators in the woman’s apparent slaying and the suspect or suspects are at large, according to the Los Angeles Police Department.
An autopsy is pending in Johnson’s death. Her family has claimed she’d been strangled.
“She was wrapped in a sheet, tied up,” Shalonda Madison told the Los Angeles Times. “Duct tape over her mouth, and she had wire around her hands. She was bound and hog-tied, so they cut her loose.”
Detectives are working to narrow down Johnson’s time of death.
“We’re still gathering evidence, analyzing evidence that we do have,” Officer Pat Farmer told Oxygen.com. “Unfortunately, these things take a little bit of time, specifically when dealing with the types of evidence that we have. So we’re going to follow whatever leads come to us through that and go from there.”
Johnson’s death was one of at least 13 slayings recorded by Los Angeles Police over the July 4th weekend, a police spokesperson said.
Detectives said they are now combing through days of surveillance footage from Johnson’s apartment for leads in the case. Police declined to say if there were signs of forced entry to her home. Johnson’s silver Lexus, her jewelry, and her cellphone were also missing, police said.
Johnson was a “loved member” of the community, according to police. She died roughly a week before her 54th birthday. Her family said they are now planning a memorial service.
“She was the hood mother to everyone,” Madison added. “She always put out a life jacket for those drowning.”
At the time of her death, Johnson was studying at Westchester College of Nursing and Allied Health and aspired to work as a licensed vocational nurse.
Her loved ones described her as a “bubbly” figure who had a smile that “lit up the darkest room.” She loved “taking care of people,” her niece said.
“How could someone do something so evil to such a beautiful soul,” Mia Daniels wrote on Facebook. “I don’t understand this is so horrible so heartless, she didn’t deserve it at all.”
Others said the California mother will be remembered for her wonderful nature.
“She was a breath of fresh air,” Blair McMurray, who met Johnson while doing a 12-step sobriety program, told the Times. “She was really loveable and had this charisma.”
Johnson attended Locke High School, according to her Facebook page. A GoFundMe page set up for the family to help cover funeral expenses had raised more than $14,000 as of Thursday.
Oxygen.com was unable to immediately reach Johnson’s family for comment.
Anyone with information related to Johnson’s murder is asked to contact Detective Brian Smith or Pat Farmer at 323-786-5113 or can make an anonymous tip by calling 800-222-8477.
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