A missing teenager who was kidnapped in an unprovoked attack was now found dead at a park.
19-year-old Andrea Vazquez from Whittier, California, was at Penn Park with her boyfriend when a young man approached the couple and began shooting at them just after midnight on Sunday.
According to the authorities, it appears that Vazquez and her partner were “randomly targeted” by the gunman and that they were not known to each other.
The suspect has since been identified as 20-year-old Gabriel Esparza. He was arrested without resistance at his workplace in Lakewood and charged with kidnapping and murder. He is currently held in custody without bail.
“An adult male witness reported that while at the park with an adult female companion, an armed suspect approached their vehicle and fired a weapon in their direction,” police sources confirmed.
“That same witness told police he ran from the car, and when he came back he found blood, and Vazquez missing.”
Following Andrea’s disappearance, friends and family spoke out and shared their hopes for the young girl’s safe return.
“As he [Andrea’s boyfriend] turned his back to ask for help, in that moment, my sister was kidnapped,” the victim’s sibling, Edlyn Vazquez, said.
Unfortunately, Andrea was found dead in a vegetation field in Moreno Valley on Monday night.
“She was an angel. I am left only with her smile and her face,” the teenager’s aunt, Veronica Becerra, expressed in an interview with KTLA.
Our thoughts remain with Andrea’s loved ones during this challenging time.
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