April Death Was Homicide
By Teresa Rochester
July 5 -- Jacqueline Ovsak Langford was killed.
But whether the woman -- whose body was found in an abandoned house this spring -- was the victim of murder is still under investigation.
Following the discovery of Langford's body on April 5, police called it a suspicious death but did not rule out homicide. A recently completed autopsy report, which found Langford died of asphyxia caused by a cord binding or "other mechanisms," confirmed that another person killed Langford, making the case Santa Monica's only homicide of the year.
"It appears she's the victim of strangulation," said Scott Carrier, public information officer for the Los Angeles County Coroner.
A construction worker found the 42-year-old woman, naked from the waist down laying face down with the upper half of her body in a closet and the lower half in the bedroom of a decrepit house at 1537 7th Street, where she had allegedly squatted for several months. A thick brown cord was wound tightly around her neck and tied to the clothes bar in the closet above her.
Authorities said a determination of murder would depend on the intent and actions of the person that was with Langford when she died.
"It is a homicide, a death caused by another," said Santa Monica Police Department spokesman Lt. P.J. Guido. "Until we talk to that person about their culpability and their actions during that death depends on whether we file charges of murder."
Police have not found or questioned the person that was with Langford that night, but they have leads to go on, Guido said.
"Obviously the people and acquaintances she had are very critical to us in pulling this case together," Guido said.
Langford often visited Daybreak, a day center for homeless women, at least twice a week, often eating lunch there.
Often at night Langford tried to squat at the 7th Street house, according to Michael Glodi, the construction worker who found her body. Glodi, who saw Langford several days before her death, said that he had often chased her off the property overgrown with weeds and out of the house that was scheduled for demolition.
After her death, Langford, a mother of three, was buried next to her mother's plot in Arkansas. Before hopping a bus to California from Virginia where she lived for less than a year, Langford had worked as a commercial architect in St. Louis, MO. The only reason she gave her mother, Janie Labash, for moving was that she wanted to be a movie star.Labash spoke to her daughter twice while she was in Santa Monica. The last time was two weeks before her death. Langford, Labash said, wanted to come home.
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