LOS ANGELES (CN) - The LAPD detective conducting a criminal investigation into sexual assault claims against basketball player Derrick Rose was found dead at her Whittier home Tuesday, the day before a federal judge declined to declare a mistrial in the sexual assault civil case against the player.
LAPD Det. Nadine Hernandez, 44, died from a gunshot wound at home on Tuesday. Authorities say that a firearm was recovered from the residence and that she likely took her own life.
"At this time there are no signs of foul play and this incident is being investigated as a suicide," Whittier police said, according to the Los Angeles Times. "However, this is an ongoing investigation."
Sources within the police department told the Times that Hernandez had been assigned to the Rose case with another detective. As an officer in the department's Robbery-Homicide Division Special Assault Section she has investigated several high-profile sex crimes, the Times reported.
Authorities in Whittier received a report of an attempted suicide on Tuesday afternoon, according to Whittier Police Lt. Steve Dean.
It was revealed in civil filings that Hernandez was the lead investigator after the alleged victim in the case sought to protect her anonymity in a trial which began last week in downtown Los Angeles.
The revelation of Hernandez's name was a point of contention. U.S. District Judge Michael Fitzgerald chastised the accuser's attorneys for attaching a letter from Hernandez to an attorney declaration, a contributing factor in his decision to grant Rose's motion for a gag order until the trial ends.
The letter was initially available on the court's public docket, but has been removed.
"The ability to offer anonymity to victims of sex crimes is an invaluable investigative aid to investigators as well as a great comfort to victims of crimes of such a sensitive nature," Hernandez wrote in a copy of the Sept. 22 letter.
Fitzgerald called the decision to inject the letter into proceedings "borderline unethical" and said it was "calculated" to win a settlement in the case. The woman seeks $21.5 million in damages.
The 30-year-old Californian, whose name is now part of the public record, accused Rose and his friends and co-defendants Randall Hampton and Ryan Allen of raping her in her bedroom during the early hours of Aug. 27, 2013, after trespassing at her apartment.
The three men deny the claims, saying the sex was consensual and that the woman was alert and sober during the encounter.
On the stand Tuesday, Rose said that he suspected the woman was going to "claim rape" and set him up when she contacted him after he left her downtown apartment to tell him that she was so drunk she had burned her hand on a gemstone next to a firepit at his rented Beverly Hills residence.
The woman took the stand last week. She claims that she was unable to give consent because she was severely intoxicated by the time she left a small party at Rose's house and said she believed she was drugged before she returned to her apartment.
"I've never felt like that before," she told a federal jury last week. "I just felt I was less in control, more goofy."
On Tuesday, Rose's lawyers asked Fitzgerald to dismiss the case or declare a mistrial, arguing that four text messages from Aug. 26 and Aug. 27, 2013 that were revealed four days into the trial gave the woman an unfair advantage.
In his motion to dismiss, Rose said that the texts showed that the woman was only "concerned about getting money from Mr. Rose."
Two of the messages mention a friend named Kendra who had accompanied the woman to Rose's home the night of the party.
In a 1:36 a.m. text sent from the woman to Rose on Aug 27 she said, "She was mad at me babe. Why u have me bring a bitch and u ain't fina fuck her."
In a second text at 10:03 p.m. she wrote, "When are u making the deposit, I need to give some cash to kendra as well she has been calling and texting me."
On Wednesday morning, Judge Fitzgerald declined to dismiss the case for abuse of process or grant a mistrial. Though the judge said it was careless of the woman's attorneys not to hand over the texts sooner, he didn't find the error serious enough to grant Rose's motion.
Both parties have shown text messages to the six women and two men of the jury to support their cases.
Fitzgerald said that he would allow Rose's attorneys to cross-examine the woman and that the jury would be informed of the error.
Witness testimony was to continue Wednesday morning.