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Authorities unable to determine if body is that of missing Moreno Valley teen

July 20, 2010 | 10:03 pm

Riverside County authorities said Tuesday night that a body found in Moreno Valley was so decomposed that they were unable to determine its sex or whether it was that of a 17-year-old girl who may have been kidnapped last week while walking home from summer school.

At a news conference near the remote farming area, Sgt. Joe Borja of the Sheriff’s Department said officials would be conducting an autopsy Wednesday morning and a DNA test to determine if the body was that of Norma Lopez.

Lopez, who attended Valley View High School, was reported missing about 12:30 p.m. Thursday, about 2 1/2 miles from the area of brush and trees where the body was discovered by a resident who lives in the area near Dracaea Avenue and Theodore Street.

“It was going through various stages of decomposition,” Borja said of the body. “We are treating this is a homicide.”

He said the body was hidden from view by trees but had not been buried or covered.

Authorities are urging anyone with information about the case to call (877) 242-4345, or send an e-mail to findnorma@riversidesheriff.org.

-- Phil Willon in Moreno Valley