Southern California breaking news and trends

Weapons of muck destruction found in Echo Park lake drain

guns firearms echo park lake

Photo via The Eastsider LA

Ready, drain, fire. 

Waterlogged weapons went on display Tuesday night at a progress meeting for the Echo Park Lake rehabilitation project, reports the Eastsider LA

Though it was unclear how long the firearms had been underwater, there was speculation the rifle might be a World War II-era weapon.

No bodies (or bodiless heads, thank goodness) surfaced during the lake drain. Instead, the muck revealed a collection of routine and rusty relics.

Like a La Brea tar pit of ill-fame, the lake funk was hiding such wannabe fossils as pay telephones, toys, shopping carts, hubcabs, traffic cones, hundreds of glass bottles, and a toilet.

$65 million is being spent to clean Echo Park Lake, and a wetland around the island is also being developed as part of the rehabilitation effort.

The water quality improvement project is on track to be finished in May 2013, said officials at Tuesday's meeting.

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Hollywood severed head discovery: LAPD continue the search for body parts

With AFP Story by Michael THURSTON: US-e

Robyn Beck/Getty Images

The famous Hollywood sign

A story that began the way any one of a dozen procedural TV dramas could continues today as LAPD search for body parts that might belong to the head a hiker found on a Hollywood trail Tuesday afternoon.

Police suspended the search when darkness fell Tuesday night. The head was discovered by a hiker who became curious about a plastic bag two of the dogs she was walking began playing with. The head was in the bag.

This morning the L.A. Times reports police sources told it that "the head was believed to be that of an Armenian male in his 40s with salt-and-pepper hair."

Police said it did not appear the head had been there long, and LAist notes that several news reports described the head as "relatively fresh."

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Downey woman's Titanic story of survival aboard the sinking Costa Concordia

The Costa Concordia cruiseship lies on J

Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

The Costa Concordia cruiseship lies on January 15, 2012 in the harbor of the Tuscan island of Giglio after it ran aground and keeled over off the Isola del Giglio after hitting underwater rocks on January 13.

The sinking of Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia last weekend has ripples in Southern California for a Downey family that survived the deadly five and a half hour ordeal.

Georgia Ananias spoke to KPCC's Hettie Lynne Hurtes on Tuesday, recounting the pandemonium experienced off the island of Giglio. 

Ananias, a seasoned cruiser with over 75 voyages to her credit, detailed the screaming, crying, and bodies flying as it became clear that the boat's trouble was not the electrical problem the cruise personnel initially claimed.

Language barriers, misinformation and a lack of direction led to a chaotic shift into survival mode. "Four times we almost died," said Ananias, who got emotional as she told how her family starting saying their final goodbyes.

"The only way anyone survived was to stick together," the woman continued, remembering a painful moment of fighting gravity while gripping a staircase with one hand and holding a stranger's baby with the other.

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Human head found near Hollywood sign hiking trail

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Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

A human head was found inside a bag on a hiking trail below the Hollywood sign on Tuesday afternoon, reports the L.A. Times. Los Angeles police detectives are said to be looking for additional body parts in the area.

According to a LAPD spokesperson, the human remains were found by a park ranger near the 3200 block of Canyon Drive around 3:45 p.m.

Authorities investigating Bronson Canyon Park are treating the case as a possible homicide.

UPDATE 5:51 p.m. LAPD confirmed with KPCC by phone that a "bodiless head" was discovered in a plastic bag by an individual walking a dog. The dog reportedly uncovered the bag while rooting around in a bush. The investigation is in the early stages. No additional information was given. 

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Elizabeth Ibarra and Jason Schumann arrested in Francisco Rodriguez murder

arrests suspects jason schumann elizabeth ibarra

Photo by KimNBCLA via Twitter

24-year-old Jason Schumann and a 19-year-old Elizabeth Ibarra have been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Francisco Rodriguez.

Los Angeles police announced the arrest of 24-year-old Jason Schumann and 19-year-old Elizabeth Ibarra — both on parole and with extensive criminal records — in connection with the murder of 17-year-old Francisco Javier Rodriguez, Jr. last week outside his home in Winnetka.

The former El Camino Real High School soccer player was described as "being on the right track in life," at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Officials credited witness accounts, community information, school police, district officials and tips via Crimestoppers in the suspect arrests.

Authorities are asking an anonomous tipster who provided a key piece of information to come forward and help solidify the investigation.

No motive was specified.

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