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Police: no clear link to serial killings

However, Newport detectives are still examining whether the death of Tina Hoang could be tied to 4 slayings.

April 15, 2014|By Jeremiah Dobruck

Newport Beach police are looking for connections between an unsolved homicide in their city and recently revealed serial killings in Orange County but have not found any links, a department official said Tuesday.

"At this point it does not seem that there are obvious ties between the two, but of course [detectives will] do a full investigation," Newport Beach Police Department spokeswoman Jennifer Manzella said.

For more than a year, Newport police have been investigating the death of Tina Hoang. In March 2013, the 20-year-old woman was found face down in the sand on the beach in West Newport.

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Like the female victims in a string of murders announced last week by Santa Ana and Anaheim police, Hoang had ties to the sex industry. She was facing prostitution-related charges in Anaheim at the time of her death.

On Friday, police arrested two men on suspicion of murder after workers at an Anaheim trash facility found the body of Jarrae Nykkole Estepp, 21. Police say they linked her death to three kidnappings and killings.

Kianna Jackson, 20, Josephine Vargas, 34, and Martha Anaya, 28, disappeared from Santa Ana in October and March, police said. Franc Cano, 27, and Steven Dean Gordon, 45, have been charged with killing all four women.

According to court documents reviewed by the Los Angeles Times, Cano and Gordon are registered sex offenders who spent time together in Las Vegas in April 2012. Hoang was convicted of prostitution charges there in March of that year.

At a news conference Monday, law enforcement officials said they believe they can tie at least one more victim to Cano and Gordon.

Newport homicide detectives routinely work with other police departments looking for leads, as they will in this case, according to Manzella.

Los Angeles Times staff writers Paloma Esquivel and Adolfo Flores contributed to this report.

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