Westchester woman calling 911 is found slain
Ex-boyfriend, who officials say later set himself ablaze in Playa del Rey, is a suspect in teacher's death. She was an LMU professor's daughter.
By Josh Grossberg and Kristin S. Agostoni
A 23-year-old woman was stabbed to death in her father's Westchester home Wednesday morning, minutes after calling 911 and telling authorities that her former boyfriend was trying to break into the house, police said.
The man said to be the suspect later set himself on fire in nearby Playa del Rey and was listed in critical condition at County-USC Medical Center.
The victim was identified as 23-year-old Mary K. Dasaro, the daughter of Loyola Marymount University faculty member George Dasaro, according to a statement from LMU.
The incident began in the 7500 block of Cowan Avenue around 10 a.m., when Dasaro called police and said she feared for her life. The call was interrupted, said Los Angeles police officer Jason Lee.
"The line was disconnected," Lee said. "Within four minutes, LAPD Pacific Division officers arrived and discovered the victim had been stabbed to death."
The suspect was gone by the time police arrived, Lee said.
Police received another call about 11:15 a.m. that a car was on fire near 62nd and Pacific avenues in Playa del Rey. When police arrived, they found Darren Nelson, 24, of Hawthorne inside the car. Nelson, believed to be Dasaro's ex-boyfriend, had set himself on fire, Lee said.
Fire crews put out the fire and took the man to the hospital.
Dasaro graduated from LMU's liberal arts program in 2005 and was working as a teacher at Westwood Charter Elementary School in Westwood.
Her father has been a member of the LMU faculty since 1977.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the Dasaro family during this most difficult time, Ernest Rose, LMU's academic vice president, said.
"Mary was an outstanding young woman who will be deeply missed by the LMU community as well as countless friends and family members."
Officials in scuba gear scoured Del Rey Lagoon late into Wednesday night looking for a murder weapon.
"I saw the car," said nearby resident Sue Krauch. "It was burned pretty bad."
Sylvia Cota, a caregiver for neighbor Tillie Rosenfeld, said she was stunned to find the normally quiet Cowan Avenue blocked by police cars when she arrived to work Wednesday around 10:30 a.m. The news vans came later, shining their spotlights on homes of Loyola Marymount University professors.
Cota described Dasaro, a Westchester High School graduate who lived in the two-story white house across the street from Rosenfeld's, as "very polite, just nice," always acknowledging her neighbors.
"She was about 9 years old when I first met her, cute little girl, running around the neighborhood," said Cota, who has known the Dasaro family for the 17 years she's worked there.
"I was real proud of her when she got her teaching credentials," she said.
Cota said Dasaro had a boyfriend who used to come to the family's house frequently, but she said she never got to know him.
"For the past couple months, I haven't seen him," Cota said.
this happened a few blocks from me, in a good neighborhood.
feel sorry for the girl, and the cops who had to dive into del rey lagoon .... that thing is NASTY, no swimming or boating is allowed.
I hope the asshole is in a lot of pain from his burns.
A perfect case study for Paxton Quigley's next book. The perfect situation for her to have used a firearm to defend herself. She would most likely still be alive today and he would most likely still be alive and in jail. In the worst case, she'd still be alive and he'd still be in the hospital, albeit perforated rather than burned.
What a shame.
I hope the NRA uses this incident as an example for later references against the gungrabbing goats of the prk....and remember it happened WHILE GUN CONTROL was in affect. I also hope the families/friends of the victim would come forward and help support the right to bare(bear,bair) arms
Was there some law in effect that I am unaware of that would have prevented this woman from defending herself with a firearm in this instance? 23yo adult in her families home. No legal reason that I'm aware of that she could not have been armed if she chose to be. Dad didnt let firearms in his home or something?
that's what I'm saying. so now the dad(man of the house) finally realizes that if he wasn't into gun control or what not(didn't believe in self defense and the police& a telephone was all that's needed) and had a firearm in the house and had the famliy members all trained on how to safetly use it that very likely his daughter would still be alive and well today? some people just need to wake up and face the facts and I know of many people that don't understand a shft situation/bad scenario that can happen anywhere/anytime and that the police will not be able to help. but they seem to live in their dream world along with the lawful protection by gUn ConTrol so they feel safe everywhere they go and nothings going to happen. And when it happens they are the ones that are and were never prepared to handle/take care of themselves&family.