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Authorities on Saturday tracked the owner of an SUV suspected of being used in a Halloween night hit-and-run that killed three teenage girls to a Southern California home, only to find someone else living there.
The black Honda had not been reported stolen. Detectives set about the task of trying to determine where the owner was and who was driving when the vehicle traveling at high speed hit the girls, including twin sisters, who were out for a night of trick-or-treating.
Two of the victims were declared dead immediately, and a third died as paramedics prepared to take her to a hospital, Orange County fire Capt. Steve Concialdi said. The twin sisters were Lexi and Lexandra Perez, and the third victim was Andrea Gonzalez, the Orange County Sheriff's Department said.
The SUV was abandoned a short distance away. Police were seeking two men from an SUV that hit the girls, police Chief Carlos Rojas said at a media briefing. "At this point, we don't know where the registered owner lives," said Santa Ana Police Department spokesman Anthony Bertagna.
Dressed in costumes and carrying candy bags, the 13-year-old girls were in a crosswalk near an elementary school in Santa Ana when the SUV with two men inside hit them about 6:45 p.m. Friday, police and fire officials said. Two of them were declared dead immediately, and a third died as paramedics prepared to take her to a hospital, Orange County fire Capt. Steve Concialdi said. Their names were not immediately released.
The front of the vehicle was heavily damaged, Bertagna said. Authorities are seeking video surveillance footage from nearby property owners while interviewing witnesses. Investigators also collected evidence from the SUV, including fingerprints and DNA samples, he said.
"It was Halloween. There were a lot of people out there," Bertagna said. "These guys fled this car. Did they call somebody to pick them up? Did they live in the neighborhood? Did they run into a house?"