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DNA links man to Moreno Valley killing, officials say

Jesse Perez Torres
The Long Beach man who was arrested in the abduction and killing of a 17-year-old Moreno Valley girl was linked to one of the crime scenes by DNA evidence, a spokesman for the Riverside County district attorney’s office said Thursday.

Jesse Perez Torres, 35, faces one count of murder with special circumstance of kidnapping in the killing of Norma Lopez, who abducted after leaving a summer school class in July 2010.

The district attorney’s office did not provide any more details about the evidence against Torres, who was arrested last week outside his Long Beach apartment.

At the time of the killing, Torres lived in a suburban home across the street from Valley View High School in Moreno Valley, close enough to see Lopez walking off campus on the day she disappeared. Her body was found five days later in a wheat field.

A Riverside County judge on Thursday postponed Torres’ arraignment until Nov. 16 to give his newly appointed attorneys from the public defender's office time to review the case. Torres did not enter a plea.

Dist. Atty.’s  spokesman John Hall said the agency will not provide any more details about the DNA evidence, only that there was a “hit” directly linking Torres to one of the crime scenes.

Lopez was abducted on July 15, 2010, as she walked across a vacant lot after attending a summer school biology class at Valley View High School.

Investigators said they found some of Norma's belongings, as well as signs of a struggle, in a vacant field along Cottonwood Avenue, a popular shortcut among students. Torres’ home was a block away from the field.

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--Phil Willon in Riverside

Photo: Moreno Valley Police Chief John Anderson announces the arrest of Jesse Perez Torres, right, in the killing of Norma Lopez, who disappeared last year.  Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times.

 
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