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Father of slain Moreno Valley teen waited ‘so long’ for justice

October 21, 2011 |  8:07 am

Family of Norma Lopez during her funeral last year
The father of a Moreno Valley 17-year-old who was abducted and murdered in the summer of 2010, a case that struck fear into parents throughout the Riverside County city, on Friday said the family is relieved that a suspect finally has been tracked down and arrested.

Norma Lopez disappeared after leaving summer school, and her body was found five days later on the eastern edge of town. Her father said it's been a difficult 15 months for the family, but that they always were confident that police would catch the killer.

"One feels content, at the same time the pain comes again,'' Martin Lopez, 45, said in Spanish. "We have been waiting for so long, but we have relied on God to bring us this day and for the police to keep doing their job. It's been more than a year … But at last we had faith in God and he provided justice.''

Lopez's father said police came to the family's home Thursday night at 7 p.m. and told them they had a suspect in custody. He said police told the family that the suspect arrested was Jesse Perez Torres, 35.

Riverside County jail records show that deputies arrested Torres in Long Beach on Thursday on suspicion of murder and kidnapping. The arrest was first reported by the Press-Enterprise. Torres is being held at the Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, with bail set at $1 million.

Lopez's father said neither he nor anyone in his family knows Torres.

Riverside County Sheriff's Department spokesman Sgt. Joe Borja on Friday morning said he could not confirm the arrest, but did say an announcement would be made Friday morning about the case.

Lopez's father said family members will be at the news conference.


Moreno Valley girl, 17, may have been abducted

Family of slain Moreno Valley girl say they will 'get the killer'

Police arrest suspect in kidnapping, murder of Moreno Valley girl

-- Phil Willon in Riverside

Photo: Family members follow the casket of Norma Lopez ,17, during her funeral in July 2010. Credit: Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times