SAN DIEGO (Reuters) - A body of a teenage girl or young woman was found stuffed in a suitcase across the street from an upscale hotel in San Diego, police said on Thursday, and investigators were trying to determine who she was and how she died.
The remains of a "small-statured female" were discovered by a hotel worker in a large black travel suitcase sitting near trash bins put out for collection, said Lieutenant Manny Del Toro of the San Diego Police Department.
"He was curious about what was in the suitcase and then when he discovered the body he backed out," Del Toro said.
The victim had not been identified as of Thursday morning, but because of the size of the body investigators were working on the assumption that she was a teen or woman in her early 20s, he said.
There were no obvious wounds and an autopsy was scheduled for later on Thursday to determine a cause of death.
"It doesn't appear she was stabbed or shot," Del Toro said. "At this point we can't even conclude it was a murder. She could have overdosed and someone got scared and shoved her body in there."
Still, he said, investigators who canvassed the area seeking witnesses were treating the case as a homicide and seeking to match the remains to reports of missing girls and women.
"It's unusual in any location to find a dead girl in a suitcase but this is not a particularly violent area, relatively speaking," Del Toro said of the business district near downtown San Diego.
(Reporting by Marty Graham and Dan Whitcomb; editing by Clarence Fernandez and Dan Grebler)