A month after the November 2021 death of model Christy Giles, her parents made the heartbreaking decision to lay her remains alongside a wedding gown she never got to wear.
Dusty and Leslie Giles said they’d made plans for a ceremony with family and friends in Alabama because Christy had eloped with her then-fiancé, Jan Cilliers, at the Burning Man festival in Nevada in August 2019.
The plan was shattered after the 24-year old died of a drug overdose Nov. 13, 2021, and her body was dumped at a Culver City, Calif., hospital by two men.
In an exclusive interview with The Post, anguished mom Dusty Giles broke down as she described seeing her daughter’s body for the first time weeks after her death. After an autopsy by LA county’s medical examiner-coroner department ruled the death a homicide, Christy’s body was transported to Alabama where her family lives.
“I asked Jan if I could please have it so we could bury her in her wedding dress,” the tearful mom recounted. “It won’t be on her but I didn’t want anyone else to wear it. It’s hers and she unfortunately never got to have her wedding.”
Burying their youngest daughter was a pain from which her devastated parents have yet to recover. Part of Christy’s face, which had graced the cover of fashion and lifestyle magazines, had begun to decompose and had partially sunk in.
Dusty Giles, a retired nurse administrator, asked mortuary workers to angle her stunning daughter’s face so she’d be presentable for an open casket wake.
But Leslie Giles, a former military policeman whose stoic blue eyes began to fill with tears at the memory, said: “I couldn’t look at her … I didn’t see her at all.”
As the shattered dad got up and excused himself from the interview, his wife explained that “he made a decision not to see her because it was too much.”
“She was a ‘daddy’s girl’,” the mom said. “This is all still too much. How are we coping? We are broken, we are trying to bear an unbearable burden.”
Since the death of Christy and her architect friend, 26-year old Hilda Marcela Cabrales-Arzola, Dusty and Leslie Giles have traveled back and forth from their home in Corner, Ala., to LA for court appearances of David Pearce, the man charged with the deaths of the two women.
The 39-year old Hollywood producer is also facing rape and sexual assault charges in an unrelated case involving seven women, many allegedly drugged during their encounters with Pearce from August 2010 to November 2021, according to prosecutors.
Pearce’s roommate, actor Brandt Osborn, 42, also was charged with being an accessory after the fact related to the deaths of Giles and Cabrales-Arzola.
LAPD investigators said Pearce and Osborn, along with a third man — cinematographer cameraman Michael Ansbach — met Giles and Cabrales-Arzola at an after-hours warehouse party in East Los Angeles Nov. 13 and continued to party at Pearce’s apartment on West Olympic Boulevard in Los Angeles.
In a December search warrant, LAPD Det. Jonathan Vander Lee alleged Pearce drove his Toyota Prius the next morning without license plates, and both he and Osborn first dumped Giles’ lifeless body at a Culver City hospital then returned to the apartment to collect Cabrales-Arzola and her belongs, dropping her off at another hospital a few miles away.
Autopsy reports show both women had a mix of drugs in their system and ruled their deaths as homicides.
Officials with the Los Angeles County medical examiner-coroner’s office said Giles had ingested various drugs, including cocaine, fentanyl and gamma-hydroxybutyric acid, or GHB, commonly referred to as the “date rape drug” used by rapists to knock their victims unconscious.
Cabrales-Arzola died of multiple organ failure due to cocaine, ecstasy, GHB and other drugs in her system. According to the search warrant report, nurses who treated and conducted a sexual assault exam on Cabrales-Arzola noted she was bleeding from her vagina where a small abrasion was found.
Pearce was seen by witnesses providing cocaine to Giles and Cabrales-Arzola at the rave before they left and arrived about 5:11 a.m. last Nov. 13 at his apartment — where the two women died of an overdose, LAPD detectives said.
According the search warrant affidavit, Giles texted Cabrales-Arzola at 5:30 a.m. from inside Pearce’s apartment, “Let’s go” followed by a wide-eye emoji. Cabrales-Arzola replied a minute later: “Yes. I’ll call an Uber. 10 min away.”
About 5:44 a.m., an Uber arrived in front of Pearce’s apartment but drove away 5 minutes later after no riders showed up.
Dusty Giles sobbed as she spoke about the last text exchange between her daughter and her friend from Pearce’s apartment.
“Something happened during those 10 or so minutes when my daughter texted, ‘Let’s go’ and when the Uber showed up but they never came down. From the very beginning I think they did something to subdue my daughter and kept them there for hours. I believe once they realized the girls wanted to leave … they did what they thought they needed to do to keep our daughters.”
Detectives said about 10 hours later, Pearce and Osborn were seen in video surveillance footage lugging Giles’ lifeless body out of the apartment; they then drove to the Southern California Hospital in Culver City, where they left the corpse.
About an hour later, Pearce carried Cabrales-Arzola’s “partially clad” body out of the apartment and into his Prius, while Osborn followed and carried clothing, the warrant said.
Kaiser Hospital officials found Cabrales-Arzola’s body outside the West Los Angeles facility sometime after 7 p.m., investigators said. She died Nov. 24 — five days before her 27th birthday — after being pronounced brain-dead, her family said.
“My daughter was taught by her military police father on hand to hand combat,” Dusty Giles said. “She was armed for battle but in this situation, by drugging them, they didn’t even have a chance to fight for their lives.”
She said it was son-in-law who first alerted her that Christy had been unresponsive to his messages and that her iPhone location showed she was at a hospital. Cilliers was out of town visiting his father in San Francisco that weekend and he got worried when he couldn’t get ahold of his wife.
When Dusty Giles called the hospital, she said her heart sank.
“I wanted to know what exactly was going on and if I could speak to her,” the mom recalled. “I asked, ‘Is she in surgery? What’s going on?’ And the nurse said, ‘I’m sorry, your daughter was dropped off in front of our emergency room and unfortunately she did not make it.’ I said, ‘Excuse me?! She was dropped off in front? So she was thrown out in front like a piece of garbage?’”
When the nurse told the shocked mom that they believed two people carried her out of a car and threw her on the sidewalk, Dusty Giles said she collapsed on the floor.
“I was hunched over, holding onto the end of my bed and Leslie sat behind me, rubbing my back,” Dusty Giles sobbed. “I said to Leslie, ‘Christy didn’t make it ! They said she’s dead!’ And he just fell on the ground and he kept rubbing my back as I tried to give them the information they needed. He tried to comfort me and kept saying, ‘You’re doing good, babe.’ We couldn’t believe this was our reality.”
She then called her son-in-law, who cried out and screamed as soon as he heard Christy was gone. Cilliers was already the airport and was trying to get the first flight out to be with Christy.
The Giles’ said their goal is to try to be at every hearing, if they can, not just for Christy but also for Cabrales-Arzola’s family, who are in Mexico. The couple started a GoFundMe page to help alleviate costs from traveling back and forth from Alabama to Los Angeles court.
The Giles’ were in LA Aug. 29 to attend Pearce and Osborn’s hearing, but it was postponed to October.
Pearce didn’t appear but he’s since been assigned a Deputy Public Defender after dropping his private counsel. He’s expected to be arraigned Oct. 25 on an amended criminal complaint, said Deputy District Attorney Catherine Mariano.
According to the search warrant affidavit, Pearce also was arrested in August 2014 for penetration with a foreign object, but that case and another rape incident allegedly involving Pearce were rejected by the LA County District Attorney’s Office.
Investigators also said Pearce was busted in June 2021 for possession of a controlled substance, but wasn’t officially charged by the LA County DA’s office in connection with the sex assault and rape until after he was busted and questioned about the Giles and Cabrales-Arzola case.
“We knew that this was going to be a lengthy investigation, and we started with the charges we knew that we could prove,” LA County DA George Gascón said at a July press conference. “Most had to do with the using and the administration of drugs. The LAPD did a lot of work here as well as our prosecuting team because we knew that they were murders and we wanted to prove that, and that is the reason why the outstanding charges have been confirmed.”
The Giles’ are furious, arguing prior reports from several women regarding Pearce as far back as 2010 should’ve triggered an arrest and investigation against the Hollywood producer, whose Tinseltown pals included porn star Ron Jeremy.
“Two times before this, two different women came in with similar stories about David Pearce,” Dusty Giles said. “Two different times, detectives looked into it and felt like there was enough to arrest them, but the DA’s office decided not to press charges. At what point after the first person came in and the other reported what happened to them… why was he allowed to get away and do this for so long when other women came forward? Nothing was done and my daughter didn’t have to die.”
“At first we thought Christy’s death had a purpose and it was to get this off the street,” she added. “Then when you read that he didn’t have to be out, he’s hurt other women before … and they kept letting him back out in the street. This didn’t have to happen. I’m just angry and don’t understand what you have to do in California for someone to get charged. How much is enough? Wasn’t it serious enough that two women came forward and said they were raped?”
Staten Island native and actor Brandt Osborn, who’s out on $100,000 bail, appeared in court Aug. 29 but refused to comment. He has pleaded not guilty to the accessory charges.
The third man, cinematographer Michael Ansbach, hasn’t been charged in connection to Giles and Cabrales-Arzola case, but his lawyer told The Post he is “nothing more than a witness” and wants “to be an asset.”
Sitting at a downtown LA hotel last week, Dusty Giles smiled as she showed off fashion editorial pictures of her beautiful brunette daughter. She recounted stories of when the 5-foot-8-inches beauty was “discovered” at a local mall when she was just 14 — and signed with the famed Wilhelmina modeling agency.
The shy tomboy who loved soccer decided to hang up her cleats for modeling and soon became a world-traveler, booking magazine shoots and commercials around the country and in Latin America into her late teens and early 20s.
Dusty Giles said her daughter also knew a modeling career had a “shelf life.” According to the mom, Christy met Cabrales-Arzola through friends and knew she was an architect and a designer, so asked Cabrales-Arzola if she could train as her intern/apprentice.
Soon a friendship blossomed, the mom said.
Before her death, Christy Giles told her husband and older sister Misty that she’d like her ashes to be scattered at their “special places.”
Following her wishes, Christy’s body was cremated, with half of her ashes going to her parents and the other half to Cilliers, who spread them where the couple had traveled and fell in love.
Dozens of family and friends said their final good-byes during a memorial in Alabama last year, where Christy Giles’ ashes were placed in a blue butterfly-shaped urn. They wrapped her lacy, long-sleeve wedding gown with delicate floral details around the urn, and included flowers and a box that contained messages from family and friends.
The urn and other items were then placed inside a steel box handcrafted by Christy’s Giles’ uncle, and buried at the family plot.
“That’s how we buried her,” Dusty Giles said. “She is back home … but the pain is still here … that nothing was done sooner to get this man (Pearce). He is such a manipulator. Christy was somebody. She was loved. These men will answer to us and we want them to know that we are here and we are not going anywhere.”