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Man Found Hanging From Tree in Whittier Narrows Wednesday Morning

1:52 PM PDT on August 4, 2022

An unidentified man in his 50s was found hanging from a tree near Whittier Narrows Recreation Area in the San Gabriel Valley yesterday morning, the Los Angeles County Medical Examiner-Coroner confirmed with L.A. TACO. The man was pronounced dead at 6:45 AM in the 700 block of South Santa Anita Avenue in South El Monte. The coroner's office said that the deceased's identity is pending notification of next of kin. 

At this time, it is believed that the man chose to end their life by suicide. Sarah Ardalani, public information officer for the coroner's office, told L.A. TACO, "It was reported as a suicide hanging from a tree in a park."

Several deaths have occurred at or near Whittier Narrows Park, a popular recreation area in the San Gabriel Valley, including at least two this year. 

In June, someone died by apparent drowning in a lake in Whittier Narrows during the early morning hours. A manner of death for that case has not yet been determined as of this morning.

Earlier in the year, in January, KTLA reported that a pedestrian was "struck by a car in Whittier Narrows," killing them. Media reports show that there have been several traffic-related deaths and drownings in the past decade.

But perhaps the most chilling death occurred 15 years ago when Tianmei Gao was infamously found dead, stuffed in a trash barrel floating in a body of water in the 1,400-acre park. Years passed, and no arrests were made until investigators gathered enough evidence to charge Gao's husband, Bo Li, with murder. However, by then, Li had fled to China. In 2018, he was convicted by a Chinese court and sentenced to life in prison, the L.A. Times reported.

A lack of news coverage and the recent deaths predating yesterday's suicide have left local community members with more questions than answers. On social media, residents exchanged stories of going for their morning walks and encountering the scene."This definitely would have been in the Whittier Daily News, and it’s not," a Facebook user wrote this morning in an East LA-centered Facebook group. "Where’s the link to this story??"

L.A. TACO reached out to the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department but did not hear back from them before publishing.

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