Arrest made in murder of woman found in suitcase


Pearla Louis, a 52-year-old San Francisco woman, was believed to have been murdered within the previous two days, homicide Inspector Michael Dudoroff said today.

Louis' family reported her missing on May 17. The suitcase was found floating in the water near the Embarcadero and Folsom Street shortly before 9 a.m. the following day.

Dudoroff identified the suspect as 47-year-old Lee Bell, of San Francisco. He said Bell was known to Louis' family and that he and Louis had "a relationship," but did not elaborate, other than to say Bell had been accused of abusing her in the past.

Police have not released the cause of Louis' death or a possible motive for her murder.

Bell was already in custody in San Francisco County Jail at the time of his arrest, having been booked on a probation violation on May 21, Dudoroff said.

One count of murder has now been added to the charges against him.

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