Homicide investigation in Burbank alley

Burbank police detectives gather evidence at an alley in the 4000 block of West Victory Boulevard, Burbank, where Maria Diaz, 77, was found dead on Monday, Jan. 20, 2014. (Photo by Ross A. Benson / January 20, 2014)

The woman found dead next to a dumpster in the alley of a Burbank apartment complex Monday died of “asphyxia by neck compressions,” police said Wednesday.

The woman’s son, Moises Diaz, 40, pleaded not guilty Thursday to one count of murder in the incident, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office.

The woman, identified as Maria Huezo Diaz, 77, was discovered after a witness reported a person possibly sleeping in the south alley of 4000 West Victory Boulevard at 10:41 a.m., said Burbank Police Sgt. Darin Ryburn.

She was wrapped in blankets next to a dumpster, authorities said.

The mother and son reportedly lived together in the apartment complex.

Moises Diaz is being held in lieu of $1-million bail. If convicted, he could face life in state prison.

Anyone who may have been in the area between 6 p.m. Sunday and 10 a.m. Monday is urged to call Burbank police at (818) 238-3210.

This marks the first killing in Burbank since October 2012, when two killings were reported in Burbank. On Oct. 10, a 43-year-old barber was shot multiple times and killed outside his Providencia Avenue apartment. The case remains unsolved.

Later that month, a 5-week-old infant died weeks after being taken to the hospital with broken bones, which investigators believe was a result of ongoing child abuse. Her father was charged in the killing.

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Follow Alene Tchekmedyian on Google+ and on Twitter: @atchek.


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