A makeshift memorial was started at Obregon Park Saturday, shortly after the body of 21-year-old Ashley Moran of Santa Paula was discovered near the basketball court.

Woman found dead at Obregon Park

March 21, 2014
Santa Paula News

By Peggy Kelly Santa Paula Times Santa Paula Police are investigating the death of a 21-year-old woman whose body was found Saturday morning in quiet Obregon Park hidden in bushes with puncture wounds to her neck.

The body of 21-year-old Ashley Moran of Santa Paula was discovered at about 8:23 a.m. on a secluded slope, concealed in the bushes at the neighborhood park near a basketball court.

Moran’s grey, 1999 Honda Accord four-door was nearby on the cul-de-sac of San Clemente Street parked under a tree, but her purse or valuables were not located. 

A man walking his dog reportedly found the body.

According to SPPD Lt. Ishmael Cordero, Saturday at about 8:26 a.m. officers were dispatched to the park in the 300 block of San Clemente Street for a report of “an unresponsive female with injuries to her neck and blood on her neck and face. 

“When officers arrived,” Cordero said they found a “Hispanic female who had fatal injuries to her neck.”

Moran, who did not live in the neighborhood, was pronounced deceased at the scene by Santa Paula Fire EMT personnel. 

Cordero said, “A crime scene was established,” with the park being cordoned off by yellow tape and portions of the surrounding street closed including San Clemente Street where the Command Post was established.

SPPD Detectives and Crime Scene Investigators were joined by personnel from the Ventura County Sheriff’s Office, the Ventura County Medical Examiner, and representatives from the Ventura County District Attorney’s Office, who also responded to the scene to assist.

Investigators believe Moran was killed during the night.

Investigators combed the park, Moran’s vehicle and the surrounding neighborhood for clues including searching in the backyards of nearby residences for any signs of evidence.

Cordero said investigators were told Moran’s vehicle had been parked at the location since Friday evening at about 10 p.m., “So we have that window of time,” between the Honda Accord first being noticed and the discovery of the body.

Moran, he added, had been dead “for a while” when she was discovered.

Obregon Park is located at San Clemente Street and Richard Road; a neighborhood park without a restroom, it usually does not attract those living outside the neighborhood. 

Several neighbors who asked not to be identified said they are concerned at the darkness of the area at night but had never experienced trouble at the park, and believe the neighborhood is a safe one overall.

The exact cause of Moran’s death will be determined by an autopsy.

Cordero said the body was fully clothed, and “At this point we have no suspicion of a sexual assault,” although that also will be determined by the Medical Examiner. 

Moran had a Facebook page under a “Shy Love” showing exotic animals but very little personal information.

Cordero said officers have determined her death, “Was not a gang crime, but we’re still investigating the exact circumstances... “

Anyone with information regarding this incident is encouraged to contact the SPPD Investigations Unit at (805) 525-4474

If the caller would prefer to remain anonymous, they can call the SPPD recorded Tip Hotline, 933-5691.

In addition, tips can be emailed to the SPPD at tipline@spcity.org

Those with information can also call Ventura County Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477). The caller may remain anonymous and the call is not recorded.

Ventura County Crime Stoppers can also be contacted by texting “Busted” plus your message to CRIMES (274637). 

Crime Stopper Tips can also be sent via the website, www.venturacountycrimestoppers.org   

Crime Stoppers will pay up to a $1,000 reward for a tip that leads to a felony arrest as confirmed by the arresting agency. 

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