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Dispatch: "RIP Crystal"

July 23, 2009 |  6:29 pm

Crystalzaldivar On June 26, a maintenance man went to an apartment on the 7000 block of Whitsett Ave. in Valley Glen to fix a leak. Inside, he found Crystal Zaldivar, a 17-year-old Latina, stabbed multiple times in the home she shared with an aunt.

Authorities called to the scene pronounced Zaldivar dead, according to Los Angeles Police Det. Rich Wheeler.

Later that day, police said her neighbor, Martin Ordonez, an 18-year-old Latino, told authorities that he had killed her.

Wheeler said that Ordonez told police he got into a heated argument at the apartment building with Zaldivar. Ordonez then allegedly got a kitchen knife and entered Zaldivar's apartment, stabbing her multiple times in the upper torso.

Ordonez pleaded not guilty to the charge of murder at his arraignment on June 30 at the Van Nuys Superior Court. He is represented by public defender Tony Corti. Ordonez will appear in court again on Aug. 20 to schedule a time for his preliminary hearing. He is being held at County Jail in lieu of $1,025,000 bail.

Police said that Ordonez and Zaldivar were not romantically involved. Crystalzaldivar2

After her death, Zaldivar's friends placed candles in front of her apartment door and outside the building gate.  “I love you” and “RIP Crystal” were etched into windowpane dust and spray painted on the sidewalk.

According to Monica Carazo of the Los Angeles Unified School District, Zaldivar attended Ulysses S. Grant Senior High School until March when she transferred to a continuation school.

Neighbors said they have not seen Zaldivar's aunt at the apartment since her niece was stabbed to death. They recalled Zaldivar as a nice girl.

-- Sarah Ardalani in Valley Glen

Top photo: Candles and messages left at the Valley Glen apartment where Crystal Zaldivar, 17, was found stabbed to death June 26. Credit: Sarah Ardalani/Los Angeles Times. Bottom photo: Image of Crystal Zaldivar taped to wall outside the apartment she shared with an aunt.