By Laura Brady-Allen
The woman found dead on October 17 in the homeless encampment under the 2 Freeway in Eagle Rock has been identified by the Los Angeles County coroner as Sarah Marchain, 25. As of press time on October 30, a cause of death had not yet been determined.
Police who responded to the scene of the death on October 17 found “no evidence of a crime,” said Captain Arturo Sandoval of LAPD Northeast division, adding that the cause would remain “undetermined” pending autopsy results.
Marchain is not the first person to die in an Eagle Rock encampment. In 2018, an elderly woman died in the encampment under the 134 Freeway on Figueroa Street. The woman, who was at least in her 80s, had started living in a tent after losing possession of an RV.
A recent study by the L.A. County Department of Public Health showed that homeless deaths doubled from 536 in 2013 to 1,047 in 2018. The study also found a big increase in the death rate, which accounts for increases in the homeless population. The leading cause was drug and alcohol overdose. Other causes were heart disease, traffic injuries, homicide and suicide. At the current pace, deaths on the street in L.A. County will exceed 1,000 in 2019 as well.
Trouble Under the 2
Even before Marchain’s death, the encampment under the 2 Freeway was notorious.
In February 2018, Arthur Gilbert Garza, 55, an Eagle Rock native living in the encampment was arrested and jailed for rape of an unconscious 22-year old woman at the encampment. In January, 2019, he pleaded no contest to the rape, was released from jail and returned to the encampment. Under the plea deal, he was given five years’ probation and required to register as a sex offender.
On August 25, a 45-acre brush fire in Eagle Rock and Glendale was caused by what police and fire officials have said was an incendiary device thrown into the encampment. On August 31, Daniel Nogueira, 25, the son of Eagle Rock Chamber of Commerce President Michael Nogueira, and Bryan Araujocabrera, 25, of Pacoima, were arrested in the case, though the L.A. District Attorney’s office has not formally charged either man with any crimes and has asked police to investigate the cases further.
The death of Marchain is another chapter in the encampment’s troubling history.
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