Mother of 9-year-old Trinity Love Jones is extradited from Texas as person of interest in girl’s killing

by in News

The mother of 9-year-old Trinity Love Jones, whose body was found in a duffel bag along a trail in Hacienda Heights, was extradited Thursday morning from Texas to California and is the second person of interest in the homicide investigation, authorities said.

When Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department released Jones’ identity Sunday, the department had only named one person of interest. That was Emiel Hunt, Graham’s boyfriend, who was charged with murder Tuesday.

Love’s mother, Taquesta Graham, 28, a former Long Beach resident, was extradited as the sheriff’s department confirmed that the Los Angeles County prosecutors are planning to file criminal charges against her.

Graham originally was arrested on March 8 in Hudspeth County, Texas for an unrelated parole violation, authorities said.

She was booked at the Sheriff’s Norwalk station Thursday for the same parole violation which stems from a previous charge, said Sgt. David McCabe.

Graham is a registered sex offender due to a 2009 conviction where she was found guilty of trying to entice a girl for prostitution in 2009, according to the California Megan’s Law database. She was released from prison in 2016.

Homicide detectives had not been aware of Graham’s arrest in Texas last week. At the time, detectives were already investigating both Graham and her boyfriend in connection to Jones’ death.

On March 8, she and Hunt were driving together in Hunt’s black Nissan Armada when they were stopped at a border patrol checkpoint in Hudspeth County, Texas, authorities said.

Although Graham was arrested for the warrant, Hunt was released and made his way back to California. Detectives arrested him March 9 after they found him sleeping in his SUV, which was parked in a lot near San Diego International Airport.

Jones’ body was discovered March 5 by at least one Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation employee doing maintenance work on the trail off of Hacienda Boulevard. The girl’s body was partly inside a duffel bag, with her head and part of her upper body protruding from it. The body was thought to have been there for 48 hours. However, on Thursday, it was announced that Jones’ body had been sitting near the trail for five days before she was found.

After the sheriff’s department released sketches of Jones on March 6, an unknown informant who was familiar with Jones and Graham reached out to detectives.

Hunt, Graham, along with her daughter, previously had lived with relatives in Long Beach, the sheriff’s department said. The three moved in May 2018 and for the past 10 months, were rarely seen by family members. Just before Jones’ death, they were homeless, living out of their car or in a Santa Fe Springs motel.

There were no open or active Department of Children and Family Services cases involving Jones, the sheriff’s department said.