Los Angeles News

Canyons searched for Valley Village murderer

Friday, September 17, 2010
Residents of the Studio City canyons where a Valley Village murder suspect was spotted Friday remained on alert Friday night. Police on Tuesday named a suspect in the killing of a Valley Village woman, whose body was found in her burned-out home.

LAPD North Hollywood Division personnel were called to Franklin Canyon by a report of a prowler Friday. They had still not found the suspect as of Friday night.

An L.A. County Parks and Recreation worker reported seeing a Valley Village murder suspect on Thursday in Franklin Canyon. The worker was certain it was the suspect, 34-year-old Omar Armando Loera, based on wanted posters, according to LAPD Captain Justin Eisenberg.

LAPD cleared Franklin Canyon Friday with K-9 units and officers on foot Thursday.

Another possible sighting of Loera was reported on Friday in Fryman Canyon at Wilacre Park. The search moved to Wilacre Park with horseback officers and dirt-bike officers and a helicopter.

Since the search began, police received "several" more possible sightings of the suspect since Friday's search began, according to Eisenberg.

Detectives with the LAPD North Hollywood Station said during a Tuesday news conference that they are looking for Loera. He was identified as the sole suspect in the murder through DNA left at a Valley Village crime scene.

Firefighters found Chere Osmanhodzic's body in her burning apartment on the 11500 block of West Riverside Drive on July 24. Investigators believe the fire was set to cover up her murder.

The victim's fiancé, Adam Culvey, told police that he had returned from the store when he spotted a man in the victim's apartment. He chased the man for several blocks, but the suspect got away.

When Culvey returned, he said the apartment was on fire. Her body was discovered after the fire was put out.

Loera was described as a heavily tattooed transient who has a criminal history. Loera has served time for crimes such as transporting marijuana, assault with a deadly weapon, battery, and robbery with a knife.

Police say the suspect should be considered armed and dangerous.

A command post was set up at Fire Station 108 on Mulholland Drive Friday while the search was performed.

A $50,000 reward is offered for information leading to the suspect's arrest. Anyone with information related to the case is urged to call detectives at the LAPD North Hollywood Station at (818) 623-4016.

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