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Community finishes Norma Lopez's walk home

July 31, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
As police hunt for her killer, family, friends and classmates in Moreno Valley found a way to remember 17-year-old Norma Lopez on Sunday night.They did it by retracing the teen's last steps on the day she was kidnapped and murdered.

Dubbed "Finish Norma's Walk," it was an emotional memorial as hundreds of people turned out to honor Lopez by finishing the walk home she never got to complete.

Nearly 300 strong, they retraced her steps, most never having met Lopez, but all were united in paying tribute to a young life lost.

"As a husband and wife, we just can't fathom what they're thinking at this time," said Steven Dorr of Moreno Valley. "To lose a child, it's just something unbelievable and it could happen in our community."

Lopez, who was laid to rest last week, was abducted July 15 as she walked home from summer school. Her body was found five days later in a field a few miles away.

On Sunday, mourners followed her route from Valley View High School along the shortcut through the field where she was kidnapped.

"My heart goes out to the family and all her friends," said Moreno Valley resident Julia Ann Gaston-Pittman, who was out on the walk. "I just hope and pray that God will find the killer first."

With school set to resume in less than two weeks, many residents are afraid it could happen again and are taking action.

"I'm getting everyone together to do walks around the schools to make it safe," said Julie Ann Stewart-Cleveland of the Moreno Valley Neighborhood Watch. "What is our city doing as a whole so that our kids are safe?"

Anyone with information on Lopez's murder is urged to call the Riverside County Sheriff's Department at 877-242-4345. A $35,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest of her killer.


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