Southern California breaking news and trends

Downey woman's Titanic story of survival aboard the sinking Costa Concordia

The Costa Concordia cruiseship lies on J

Filippo Monteforte/AFP/Getty Images

The Costa Concordia cruiseship lies on January 15, 2012 in the harbor of the Tuscan island of Giglio after it ran aground and keeled over off the Isola del Giglio after hitting underwater rocks on January 13.

The sinking of Italian cruise ship Costa Concordia last weekend has ripples in Southern California for a Downey family that survived the deadly five and a half hour ordeal.

Georgia Ananias spoke to KPCC's Hettie Lynne Hurtes on Tuesday, recounting the pandemonium experienced off the island of Giglio. 

Ananias, a seasoned cruiser with over 75 voyages to her credit, detailed the screaming, crying, and bodies flying as it became clear that the boat's trouble was not the electrical problem the cruise personnel initially claimed.

Language barriers, misinformation and a lack of direction led to a chaotic shift into survival mode. "Four times we almost died," said Ananias, who got emotional as she told how her family starting saying their final goodbyes.

"The only way anyone survived was to stick together," the woman continued, remembering a painful moment of fighting gravity while gripping a staircase with one hand and holding a stranger's baby with the other.


Human head found near Hollywood sign hiking trail

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Mark Ralston/AFP/Getty Images

A human head was found inside a bag on a hiking trail below the Hollywood sign on Tuesday afternoon, reports the L.A. Times. Los Angeles police detectives are said to be looking for additional body parts in the area.

According to a LAPD spokesperson, the human remains were found by a park ranger near the 3200 block of Canyon Drive around 3:45 p.m.

Authorities investigating Bronson Canyon Park are treating the case as a possible homicide.

UPDATE 5:51 p.m. LAPD confirmed with KPCC by phone that a "bodiless head" was discovered in a plastic bag by an individual walking a dog. The dog reportedly uncovered the bag while rooting around in a bush. The investigation is in the early stages. No additional information was given. 


Elizabeth Ibarra and Jason Schumann arrested in Francisco Rodriguez murder

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Photo by KimNBCLA via Twitter

24-year-old Jason Schumann and a 19-year-old Elizabeth Ibarra have been arrested in connection with the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Francisco Rodriguez.

Los Angeles police announced the arrest of 24-year-old Jason Schumann and 19-year-old Elizabeth Ibarra — both on parole and with extensive criminal records — in connection with the murder of 17-year-old Francisco Javier Rodriguez, Jr. last week outside his home in Winnetka.

The former El Camino Real High School soccer player was described as "being on the right track in life," at a press conference Tuesday afternoon.

Officials credited witness accounts, community information, school police, district officials and tips via Crimestoppers in the suspect arrests.

Authorities are asking an anonomous tipster who provided a key piece of information to come forward and help solidify the investigation.

No motive was specified.


Murder charges filed in OC homeless killings case

Homeless Homicides

Anaheim Police/AP

This photo provided by the Anaheim Police Department shows Itzcoatl Ocampo. The Orange County DA announced he plans to file four murder charges against Ocampo.

The Orange County district attorney announced the DA plans to file four murder charges with special circumstances lying in wait and use of a deadly weapon against Itzcoatl Ocamp, the 23-year-old Yorba Linda man accused in the serial slayings of four homeless men since Dec. 20. 

Though the L.A. Times had reported Ocampo's family members said he had seemed mentally ill since he returned from the Iraq war, the DA said he didn't seem mentally ill to them.

“This 23-year-old young man was a vicious killer, that he had in his mind a desire to kill people and that he followed through with that. And that he was a monster and that he was a terrible threat ... particularly to the homeless people in our county," said Orange County DA Tony Rackauckas, according to KPCC's Adolfo Guzman-Lopez, who's at the presser.


2 arrested in teen soccer player killing


Michael Owen Baker/L.A. Daily News

El Camino Real's goalkeeper Francisco Rodriguez was fatally shot last week in Winnetka. (Photo used with permission from the L.A. Daily News)

A LAPD spokesman confirmed two people are in custody in connection with the murder of high school soccer player Francisco Rodriguez. Details regarding the suspect arrests will be announced by officials at a news conference this afternoon. 

The El Camino Real student was fatally shot in front of his Winnetka home last week in what police called a "targeted" killing. Witnesses initally reported a red-haired, teenage girl knocked on the door and lured the victim outside where he was shot four times. 

The suspects' names have not yet been released. The news conference is scheduled for 3 p.m. at the LAPD Topanga Division.

This post has been updated.