Cops Search Coldwater Canyon for Suspect in Valley Village Slaying

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Cheree Osmanhodzic

    A large scale Los Angeles Police manhunt Friday night in the Coldwater Canyon area of Studio City for a man suspected of killing a 34-year-old woman and setting fire to her Valley Village home failed to produce the suspect. 

    Omar Armando Loera, 34, a transient with a criminal background, was identified Tuesday as the prime suspect in the murder of Cheree Osmanhodzic.

    All day Friday Los Angeles cops on horseback and dirt motorcycles scoured the hills above Studio City.   Officers in patrol units ran down numerous calls from people who thought they had seen Loera on city streets.    The hunt lasted late into Friday night.

    Police began searching for Loera near Coldwater Canyon Avenue and Mulholland Drive around 10 a.m., said Officer Norma Eisenman of the Los Angeles Police Department.

    Osmanhodzic was attacked July 24 in her home in the 11500 block of Riverside Drive.

    Her fiance, Adam Culvey, told authorities he arrived to find the killer inside the house. He said he chased the man, who got away, and that when he returned to the home, it was on fire.

    Osmanhodzic's mother, Gail Cameron, wept openly at a news conference Tuesday when Loera's date of birth was announced and it was the same as her daughter's.

    "I just can't believe that someone so beautiful and precious, and someone so evil and inhuman and mean, could have the same birthday," Cameron said.

    Cameron urged reporters, to "keep this on the news until this man is caught, so no other family has to go through this."

    It was unclear whether Loera had possibly fled to another country, but a city worker thought he saw the suspect Thursday and called the police.

    "Yesterday there was a sighting by a Park and Rec employee who saw our wanted flier," LAPD Capt. Justin Eisenberg told KCAL. "We followed up on that information and it sounded interesting to the point where we wanted to come out here and really drill down and see if we could find the suspect here."

    He said the employee was "fairly certain" he saw the suspect in Franklin Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains, so sheriff's deputies cleared out the canyon with canines and officers on foot.

    A large scale Los Angeles Police manhunt Friday night in the Coldwater Canyon area of Studio City for a man suspected of killing a 34-year-old woman and setting fire to her Valley Village home failed to produce the suspect.
     
    Omar Armando Loera, 34, a transient with a criminal background, was identified Tuesday as the prime suspect in the murder of Cheree Osmanhodzic.
    All day long Friday Los Angeles cops on horseback and dirt motorcycles scoured the hills above Studio City.   Patrol officers ran down numerous calls from people who thought they had seen Loera on city streets.     

    The hunt lasted late into Friday night. Police began the day searching for Loera near Coldwater Canyon Avenue and Mulholland Drive around 10 a.m., said Officer Norma Eisenman of the Los Angeles Police Department.

    Osmanhodzic was attacked July 24 in her home in the 11500 block of Riverside Drive.

    Her fiancé, Adam Culvey, told authorities he arrived to find the killer inside the house. He said he chased the man, who got away, and that when he returned to the home, it was on fire.

    Osmanhodzic's mother, Gail Cameron, wept openly at a news conference Tuesday when Loera's date of birth was announced and it was the same as her daughter's.

    "I just can't believe that someone so beautiful and precious, and someone so evil and inhuman and mean, could have the same birthday," Cameron said.

    Cameron urged reporters, to "keep this on the news until this man is caught, so no other family has to go through this."
    It was unclear whether Loera had possibly fled to another country, but a city worker thought he saw the suspect Thursday and called the police.
    "Yesterday there was a sighting by a Park and Rec employee who saw our wanted flier," LAPD Capt. Justin Eisenberg told KCAL. "We followed up on that information and it sounded interesting to the point where we wanted to come out here and really drill down and see if we could find the suspect here."

    He said the employee was "fairly certain" he saw the suspect in Franklin Canyon in the Santa Monica Mountains, so sheriff's deputies cleared out the canyon with canines and officers on foot.

    "It's a big wide open area that would be a good place for our suspect to hide if he was trying to stay out of view," Eisenberg said. "Based on the type of terrain we have there, we brought in officers on horseback from our Metropolitan division and officers on dirt bikes, and they fanned out -- about 40 officers -- in that park area and they're searching for our suspect."

    Eisenberg said the sighting was unconfirmed, "but we're taking it very seriously. What's interesting about this is the proximity of the crime scene of Valley Village. It's very close."

    He also noted that transients frequent the area.

    "We have gotten a number of other tips as well throughout the city that we're following up on," he said. "But every time we get one that we think is credible, we're going to drill down to the bottom and make sure it is or isn't. We want to find this suspect."
    Loera is a parolee who served 23 months of a 32-month prison sentence in connection with a 2008 armed robbery, criminal records show.
    He goes by the nickname "Taz," has tattoos of Aztec women on both shoulders, and uses the alias Arturo Benitez, said Lt. Alan Hamilton of the North Hollywood Station.

    The city of Los Angeles is offering a $50,000 reward for information leading to his capture and conviction.

    "I want to send a message to Omar Armando Loera wherever he may be," said City Councilman Paul Krekorian, whose district includes Valley Village. "It doesn't matter how far you run. It doesn't matter how long you hide. We know who you are and we are coming after you."

    Anyone with information about the case or Loera's whereabouts was urged to call the LAPD at 818-623-4016 or 877-LAPD-24-7.