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Body found in Chino identified as missing woman

March 20, 2013 |  7:54 am

San Bernardino County Sheriff-Coroner officials have confirmed a body found last week in Chino was that of Lorna Lopez, a woman initially reported missing who police now believe was slain by her husband.

The remains of Lopez, 40, were found Thursday in a field off the 17300 block of Cucamonga Avenue, a dusty stretch of south Chino with two-lane highways, dirt lots and muddy embankments.

Lopez and her husband, Victor Manuel Lopez, 40, were reported missing March 13. Their three children told authorities they had not seen their parents since the morning of March 12 as they got ready for school.

Police found photographs of Victor Lopez hours later that day at an automated teller machine, but there was no sign of his wife. Lorna Lopez had apparently told her husband she planned to divorce him.

The investigation led police Thursday to Victor Lopez’s nephew, Joseph Rodriguez of Huntington Park. Police said evidence found at his home led them to conclude Lorna Lopez’s disappearance was a result of foul play.

Victor Lopez turned himself into police later that same day. He led police to Lopez’s body in the field. The couple had been married for 20 years but had not been living together for the last six.

Their children are 8 to 18 years old.

Victor Lopez is charged with murder and pleaded not guilty Monday. He was being held in lieu of $1-million bail. Rodriguez was charged as an accessory and pleaded not guilty. He was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail.

The two are tentatively scheduled to appear in court for a preliminary hearing March 28.

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-- Joseph Serna

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