Suspect in Moreno Valley teen's killing lived near abduction site
The suspect arrested in the kidnapping and murder of a Moreno Valley teenager lived a block from the empty field where she was abducted near her school, records show.
Jesse Perez Torres, who was arrested Thursday, lived on Creekside Way in Moreno Valley, a short distance from the field where Norma Lopez, 17, was kidnapped near Valley View High School, records show.
According to court records, Torres had been charged with battery on a spouse or cohabitant and assault with a deadly weapon in February 2010 in Moreno Valley. The case was dismissed in September 2010 when the Riverside County District Attorney’s Office said that they were unable to locate the victim on the day the trial was to begin.
Lopez was reported missing on July 15, 2010, by her older sister, Sonja, after she failed to show up at a friend's home following her summer biology class. She was out of school by 10 a.m. and planned to meet her older sister and a friend.
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.
Lopez's body was found in a grassy field five days later by a resident doing yardwork in an isolated area just off the 60 Freeway that is surrounded by vast wheat fields.
Lopez's father said police came to the family's home Thursday night at 7 p.m. and told them the police had a suspect in custody. Torres was arrested in Long Beach on suspicion of murder and kidnapping and is being held at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, with bail set at $1 million.
Photo: At right, Martin Lopez, Norma's father, wipes tears as his friend Guillermo "Willie" Preciado consoles him. Credit: Irfan Khan / Los Angeles Times