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Funeral held for slain Moreno Valley teen

July 25, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
Friends and family gave an emotional final goodbye Thursday to Norma Lopez, who was kidnapped and murdered in Moreno Valley.Many have expressed anger that such a good child could suffer such a gruesome end to her short life. And there's also fear since the killer is still on the loose.

The service lasted an hour and a half. Moreno Valley Police Chief Rick Hall said the case was the most horrific tragedy he's seen in his 25 years with the city.

As the mother of Norma Lopez struggled to say goodbye to her daughter, an entire community gathered around to show support at the memorial service for Lopez, the 17-year-old who was kidnapped and murdered in Moreno Valley two weeks ago.

Hundreds attended mass inside Saint Christopher Catholic Church. And those who weren't inside gathered outside. Even people who didn't know Lopez well were heartbroken over what happened.

"I used to see Norma at the mall walking around with her friends, and it really affected me," said Sand Medina, a friend. "I feel like she was part of my family."

Pallbearers carried the casket inside the church just before mass started at 1 p.m. Afterward, doves were released in front of the church.

Despite the sadness all around, Father Miguel Ceja said the tragedy has brought the community together.

"The community before has been polarized by different issues, but it seems that this was a great opportunity to come together because there is a concern on the part of the entire community that this person or persons are free on the streets and they're ready to commit any other crime, horrific crime, like this one," said Ceja.

That was something on the minds of many.

The day was about Norma, but as family and friends said goodbye, there's still the search for a killer.

"Many people came out to show their support. They're concerned for their children, I'm concerned for my children, and we want the killer found and we want justice for Norma," said Perris resident Yvette Serrano.

Authorities are still looking for tips to help solve the crime. Anyone with information related to the case was asked to call the Moreno Valley Police Dept. at (877) 242-4345.


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