See Update No. 7 at the bottom of Page 2 about the additional arrest of Irvin Tellez in the murder of Nancy Hammour. Update No. 6 has details on fellow suspect Jaime Rocha's arraignment. Update No. 5 is about police arresting the 40-year-old Santa Ana man for alleged murder. Update No. 4 confirms the victim was fatally shot. Update No. 3 is on her child-custody woes and “complicated” relationship. Update No. 2 has authorities identifying her. Update No. 1 is on the first media report claiming she was shot.
ORIGINAL POST, SEPT. 3, 8:55 A.M.: A woman's body was found Monday morning below Newport Bay Bridge, and Newport Beach Police are investigating the death as suspicious.
Someone walking by spotted the dead woman–face down on the ground–and contacted police around 8:45 a.m. Monday, said police, who did not yet know the cause of death.
“We don't have any name, age or race on the woman as yet,” police spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella reportedly told City News Service. “But all deaths such as these are investigated as suspicious until we rule that out.”
The county coroner is also investigating.
That bridge is near East Coast Highway and Bayside Drive. Anyone with information about how the woman got there or who she is should contact Detective Ryan Peters at 949.644.3779 or call the police department's hotline at 1.800.550.NBPD, where messages can be left anonymously.
UPDATE NO. 1, SEPT. 3, 4:30 P.M.: The woman found dead in Newport Beach had been shot to death, CBSLA.com reports.
Haven't seen that reported anywhere else, but the station claims homicide detectives have been assigned to the case and that witnesses saw blood on the pavement and bridge railing and evidence markers around the spot near Pearson's Port Fish Shack and the Southwind Kayak Center at Pacific Coast Highway and Bayside Drive.
UPDATE NO. 2, SEPT. 4, 7:15 A.M.: The woman found dead in Newport Beach on Labor Day has been identified as 28-year-old Nancy Hammour, whose city of residence is unknown, according to Orange County Sheriff's Lt. Jeff Hallock.
An autopsy on Hammour's body will be performed either today or Thursday, Hallock added.
Jennifer Manzella, the Newport Beach Police Department spokewoman, told City News Service she could not comment on reports that Hammour suffered a gunshot wound.
UPDATE NO. 3, SEPT. 4, 10:47 A.M.: The Orange County Sheriff's Department has confirmed Nancy Hammour's death is being investigated as a homicide but cautioned detectives are awaiting autopsy results before disclosing whether she was shot to death.
The 28-year-old Santa Ana mother's sister, Yara Hayak, reportedly told ABC7 that Hammour was the mother of a 4-month-old baby boy who is in the custody of Orange County child protective services and a 12-year-old son being raised by his grandmother.
But Hammour was working to turn her life around and regain custody of her baby through court-mandated classes aimed at building a stable home, added Hayak, who mentioned she and her sister had planned to go apartment hunting.
City News Service reports Hammour's Facebook profile says she was in a “complicated” relationship.
UPDATE NO. 4, SEPT. 5, 8:46 A.M.: The Newport Beach Police Department, which confirms Nancy Hammour was shot to death, has reclassified her case a homicide.
In other developments,Yara Hayak apparently reveals behind the Orange County Register paywall that her younger sister struggled with drug problems since her father died six years ago.
City News Service reports, based on Orange County court records, that Hammour had two convictions for driving under the influence and a misdemeanor conviction for prostitution in 2008. She also pleaded guilty to possession of a controlled substance in
January and her probation was revoked July 19.
You'll recall that another young mother trying to turn her life around from drugs and prostitution was found dead near a Newport Beach lifeguard tower last spring.
The police advisory below on the Hammour case notes where you can call if you have information that can help detectives:
UPDATE NO. 5, SEPT. 9, 12:56 P.M.: Newport Beach Police, while still not filling in many holes surrounding the shooting death of Nancy Hammour, have announced Jaime Prieto Rocha, 40, of Santa Ana, has been arrested for her murder.
Rocha has been held in lieu of $1 million bail since detectives arrested him Friday, according to police, who add, "This is an ongoing investigation and no further information is being released at this time.”
Orange County Jail records have Rocha's occupation listed as forklift operator.
UPDATE NO. 6, SEPT. 10, 11:38 A.M.: Jaime Prieto Rocha is scheduled to be arraigned today in Santa Ana on one felony count of murder, according to the Orange County District Attorney's office.
Currently held in lieu of $1 million bail, the Santa Ana man faces a maximum sentence of 25 years to life in state prison if convicted, prosecutors add.
UPDATE NO. 7, SEPT. 30, 11:08 A.M.: A second man was recently arrested for the murder of Nancy Hammour, according to authorities. Irvin Tellez, a 25-year-old construction worker, has been charged with murder and also attempted murder for allegedly shooting a second Santa Ana woman in the face before Hammour's slaying, reports the Daily Pilot.
Corporal Anthony Bertagna, the Santa Ana Police spokesman, is quoted as saying there is no evidence Hammour and the woman who fell into a coma as a result of being shot knew one another, but they did live in the same neighborhood. The unidentified woman, who regained consciousness but remains hospitalized, was shot outside an apartment in the 2100 block of South Cedar Street in Santa Ana the same day Hammour's body was found under a Newport Beach bridge.
Tellez, a Santa Ana gang member who also went by "Lil Speedy” and "Speedy,” reportedly has convictions dating back to 2006 for such crimes as car theft and drug possession. He is apparently a member of the same gang as fellow Hammour murder suspect Jaime Prieto Rocha, whose nickname is "Slimmer.” Both are now being held on $1-million bail.
More on the case: