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Memorial to slain teen Norma Lopez grows

July 23, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
A funeral service will be held next week for a Moreno Valley 17-year-old girl found murdered in a rural field. Norma Lopez was last seen on July 15 while walking home from summer school. Her body was discovered several miles away on Tuesday.

Investigators are pressing their hunt for the teenager's killer.

Summer school classes wrapped up Friday at Valley View High School, where Norma Lopez was attending summer school. All day long people have been stopping by to add to the memorial near the front steps.

With hundreds of candles, flowers and cards, the memorial to Norma Lopez continued to grow Friday afternoon as a slow but steady stream of people stopped by to pay their respects.

But as much as this is about remembering the 17-year-old student, it's also about showing resolve, that people around here will not rest until the killer is brought to justice.

"This is probably one of the most emotional cases that I've seen," said Riverside County Sheriff's Deputy Melissa Nieburger.

Nieburger says it's difficult to count just how many people are working this case. But detectives will be working the investigation 24 hours a day, seven days a week, until they get the break they need.

"You never know what small piece of evidence can help the case or break the case," said Nieburger.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Dept. is working extensively with the FBI on this case. Thursday they staffed checkpoints outside the high school, questioning drivers who might have been in the area where Lopez was last scene. They're also questioning sex offenders registered in the area. It's believed that Lopez disappeared on a field by the school last Thursday, a route she used as a shortcut while walking to her friend's house after school.

"If she's been doing that regular routine every day, and all of a sudden she's gone," said Elizabeth Lopez, Norma's sister, on Thursday. "It doesn't make sense at all."

Thursday Elizabeth Lopez urged the killer to surrender.

"Everybody loved her with all their hearts, cared about her," said Elizabeth. "They're obviously going to miss a great friend that they had."

Friends of Norma Lopez said this Sunday at 8:30 a.m. at Firestone Automotive, they are going to be holding a memorial car wash for Norma Lopez.

A $35,000 reward is being offered for information leading to an arrest and conviction in the case. If you'd like to contribute to the reward fund, you can request to donate to the fund at Wells Fargo banks.

A rosary and viewing is scheduled for Wednesday, July 28, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m.

A funeral mass is scheduled for Thursday, July 29, at 1 p.m.

Anyone with information related to the case is urged to call the Moreno Valley Police Department hotline designated for this case at (877) 242-4345 or e-mail the Riverside County Sheriff's Department at findnormaskiller@riversidesheriff.org.


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