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Friends, family remember slain Torrance woman

February 18, 2009 |  3:20 pm

The last nice memory Beverly Desmond has of her only granddaughter, Cori Daye Desmond, took place the evening of Feb. 11. The two, who were roommates for more than a decade, hosted a 23rd birthday party for Cori’s younger brother Blake. It was a casual affair at their Torrance home and Beverly remembers Cori, 28, was a softer version of her usual jovial self.

“She was tired, because she had been working a long day,” said Beverly, 77. “She took a shower and got in her pajamas early and just sat around and talked.”

Less than five days later, Cori’s body was found stuffed into a bag and dumped in the snow near a San Bernardino County highway, about 100 miles away. A driver who pulled into a turnout Monday on the west side of Highway 330 near mile marker 38 in Running Springs reported seeing what he believed to be a human foot protruding from a bag, according to authorities. Cori’s family was notified early Tuesday morning.

“It’s just been a nightmare,” Beverly said. “I can’t imagine there are people like that out there.”

Cori was last seen Sunday morning at 2 a.m. at Bac Street Lounge in Redondo Beach, where she once worked and often visited, said her cousin, Thomas Desmond. The North Torrance High School graduate had worked a shift at Beaches, a restaurant and bar in Manhattan Beach, before going to Bac Street about 11 p.m. to see friends, Thomas said.

On Tuesday, Cori’s Jeep Wrangler was still parked nearby. Cori may have argued with a patron at Bac Street, but by the time she left "everything appeared to be fine," said Jodi Miller, a spokeswoman for the San Bernardino County Sheriff’s Department. According to several family members, Cori was not dating anyone and often spent the night at friends’ houses when she pulled a late shift.

A graduate of CSU Long Beach with a degree in criminal justice, Cori had considered returning to school and becoming a substitute teacher or an X-ray technician. At one point she even applied for the military.

“She wasn’t sure what she wanted to do,” recalled her stepmother, Monica Desmond. “She wanted to also go to culinary school. She used to love cooking gourmet stuff, she liked to invent things.”

Monica said the family is now making funeral arrangements for Cori, whom she described as a bubbly person with a hearty, distinct laugh.

“We are like in a daze here,” Monica said. “We’re just walking in circles -– where to go, what to do next?”

Investigators have no suspects and are trying to determine where exactly the homicide took place, said a sheriff’s spokeswoman. Anyone with information is asked to contact Sgt. Tony De Cecio or Det. Trevis Newport at (909) 387-3589. Anonymous informants are encouraged to call (800) 782-7463.

-- Corina Knoll and Rich Connell

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