From The Department Of The Weird: How Did This Happen?
What would you do if your 11-year-old daughter came home from playing and told you that there was a skeleton in the chimney of a nearby building? Would you believe her?
That's exactly what happened when little Nelly Melgoza went out to play one afternoon last Thursday:
Having just peered down a chimney stack while fetching a soccer ball that she had tossed onto the roof of an abandoned halfway house in South Los Angeles, Nelly Melgoza ran to her father breathless, saying she had seen a human skull.At first, the authorities were puzzled as to the cause of death, thinking that possibly the remains were those of a murder victim. Police investigators now think that the youngster's death was accidental. They hypothesize that the teen had climbed-up into the chimney and gotten stuck there, and had likely died of dehydration. As of now, the police do not have an explanation as to possible reasons why the teenager was climbing inside the chimney.
The security guard didn't believe his 11-year-old daughter at first.
As Thursday night wore on, Nelly continued to insist that she had seen human remains.
"I know I seen a skull," she told her father, Jose Melgoza.So the next day, they went back on the roof and Melgoza shined a flashlight down the smokestack. "You could see the top of the head. It was tilted so I could see the eye sockets and the nose."
The discovery at 89th and Main streets marked the beginning of a mystery that police are just now beginning to unravel.
Forensic anthropologists were working Monday in an attempt to identify the body, which appeared to be that of a male African American teenager who stood 5 feet to 5 feet, 3 inches tall. The body had been there for about two years, coroners said, which coincides with when the halfway house for drug addicts and ex-prisoners was closed.
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