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Man arrested over murder of LA model found stuffed inside refrigerator in high-rise apartment

Magnus Daniel Humphrey is shown in a 4 November 2023 photo (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office)
Magnus Daniel Humphrey is shown in a 4 November 2023 photo (Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office)

A Minnesota man has been arrested in connection to a homicide case five months after a model was found stuffed in a fridge in a Los Angeles apartment last year.

Maleesa Mooney, 31, was murdered inside her apartment last September and was found with her wrists and ankles bound and a gag around her face. Her cause of death was labelled in an autopsy report as “homicidal violence.”

Magnus Daniel Humphrey, 41, who is on probation for federal narcotics offences, was taken into custody at his Minnesota home on an unrelated federal warrant, the Los Angeles Police Department said in a statement.

Police said Humphrey is the “suspect responsible for the murder of Maleesa Mooney” and have filed murder charges against him.

Humphrey has waived extradition and will be transported back to Los Angeles to face charges, police added.

It is not yet clear what led investigators to connect Mr Humphrey with this case.

Mooney’s death has been deemed caused by “homicidal violence” (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
Mooney’s death has been deemed caused by “homicidal violence” (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Mooney was found dead on 12 September in her apartment on the 200 block of South Figueroa Street after her family requested a police welfare check.

When Mooney’s body was discovered by responding officers, she was found “wedged inside the refrigerator,” with blood pooled on the floor outside of it, the autopsy report, obtained by KTLA, said.

The horrific details from the scene do not end there, however, as the autopsy report also said the model’s wrists and ankles were bound, tied to each other behind her back with a mix of various electrical cords.

An article of clothing was also fashioned to make an “apparent gag” which was stuffed in her mouth,” the report said.

She also had blunt force injuries, such as lacerations, abrasions and contusions, found on her face, head, back and upper left arm, the report said, according to KABC.

However, the injuries she received from blunt force trauma “are generally not considered acutely life-threatening on their own,” but they do acknowledge it was likely she was involved in a physical altercation before she died.

A toxicology test also found traces of cocaine use, but the role of alcohol or drugs in her death “is uncertain.”

A street-side memorial for Maleesa Mooney, who was killed in her apartment, is displayed on Sept. 20, 2023, in downtown Los Angeles (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)
A street-side memorial for Maleesa Mooney, who was killed in her apartment, is displayed on Sept. 20, 2023, in downtown Los Angeles (Copyright 2024 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

Mooney’s sister, Jourdin Pauline, previously told People that at the time of her death, Mooney was two months pregnant.

Mooney’s death was previously reported alongside the death of another LA model, 32-year-old Nichole Coats, who was also found dead in her apartment.

At the time, the similarities between the two deaths, happening to two LA modes, both similar ages, and both in their apartments, made people, including Coats’ family members, suspicious that the cases could be connected.

However, police said in September that there was no evidence that the two cases were linked.

Coats’ death was ruled by the medical examiner as an accident due to “cocaine and ethanol toxicity.”