Girl, 13, Dies After She Was Ejected From Minivan During Carjacking



LOS ANGELES -- A 26-year-old man faces murder and kidnapping charges in connection with the death of a 13-year-old girl during a violent carjacking in Pico Rivera over the weekend, officials said Wednesday.

Jose Elias Aguilar has been charged with 10 counts, including corporal injury to a child and four counts each of carjacking and kidnapping during the commission of a carjacking, according to the criminal complaint filed by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. He also faces special allegations of murder during the commission of a carjacking and kidnapping.

Isabella Cortes was killed and her 8-year-old brother was severely injured during the July 5 incident in which they were both forcibly ejected from their family's carjacked van by the fleeing suspect.

Four children -- ages 17, 13, 11 and 8 -- were left in the back seats of the family van with the engine and air conditioning running while their parents went inside to buy food. The Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, who investigated the case, previously said the oldest sibling is 18. Officials allege that Aguilar “jumped in” the front seat when the parents were still in the business, sheriff’s officials said.

Sheriff's officials said that Cortes was ejected at the intersection of Lindsey Avenue and Whittier Boulevard, “struck a stationary object” and died at the scene.

Aguilar tried to escape after carjacking a second vehicle, but was detained by “good Samaritans” who held him until police arrived, authorities said.

The van was traveling at about 60 mph when the 13-year-old girl - identified as Isabella Cortes -- was ejected at the intersection of Lindsey Avenue and Whittier Boulevard. She struck an object and died at the scene, the sheriff’s department said. 

Balloons and other items were left at a sidewalk memorial Monday. 

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