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New evidence seized in Norma Lopez's murder

September 1, 2010 12:00:00 AM PDT
New evidence was seized Tuesday in the case of murdered Moreno Valley teen Norma Lopez, and officials hope the possible break may lead them to her killer.A search warrant was served on Tuesday at a house on the 26500 block of Pegasus Way, about two miles from where Lopez's body was found off Theodore Street near Dracea Avenue.

It's been a month and a half since the body of Norma Lopez was discovered.

Tuesday, Riverside County Sheriff's detectives served a search warrant at a home on the 26500 block of Pegasus Way, approximately two miles from where Lopez's body was found.

"There were a lot of cars, police cars, the forensic truck, they were pretty much here all day," said neighbor Sharon Hemphill.

Hemphill lives two doors down from the home and less than a mile away from where Norma Lopez disappeared.

Tuesday, Eric Muswaswa was arrested for obstructing a peace officer during the execution of the search warrant, but he is not a suspect in the murder case, according to authorities.

An attorney for the family said that at no point during the search was anyone in the home interviewed. The attorney said that in no way was anyone there responsible for the murder of Norma Lopez.

Muswaswa was at home when sheriff's detectives busted in with a search warrant Tuesday. Muswaswa's attorney said he suffered a broken ankle when dealing with police. Muswaswa said he asked for a search warrant several times.

"The officers told him no," said Muswaswa family attorney Miles Clark. "They are the boss. He has to do what they tell him to do.

Muswaswa was arrested and charged with obstructing and resisting a public officer. But he was not charged with anything related to the Lopez case.

The Riverside County Sheriff's Dept. confirmed Tuesday's search was part of the Lopez case investigation.

Clark said investigators took several small pieces of paper, and a green Mitsubishi SUV was towed away.

A green SUV was seen in the vicinity of the area and around the same time that Lopez was allegedly abducted.

Neighbors say the SUV is usually driven by a 25-year-old man who lives at the address with his mother and stepfather. Eyewitness News confirmed the man did work as a teacher's aide at the same school, Valley View High, Lopez attended.

"Very nice young man, of integrity, I don't know anything about him personally, but just seeing him and living next door to him, he's a good kid," said Hemphill. "I don't believe any of what has been said thus far. I think it's just a big misunderstanding. I really do, honestly."

"No one in this home or in the family is responsible for Norma Lopez's death," said Clark.

It's believed Lopez was abducted on July 15, possibly on a vacant field that she was walking through on her way from summer school at Valley View High School. Authorities found evidence of a struggle and some personal items in the field. The next week, they found Lopez's body.

At least one witness saw a green SUV speeding away from the area.

Residents from all across Moreno Valley are curious after Tuesday's events.

"We just feel that they towed some car," said neighbor Stefan Martimiankakis. "There's plenty of green SUVs out there and somehow they're focusing on this."

A representative from the sheriff's department showed up to speak with the Lopez family Wednesday morning.

Supporters continue to come by the family home with flowers, hoping there might soon be an arrest.

"It's pretty scary to know that something like this happened so close, it's just really freaky," said Moreno Valley resident James Fresquez.

No one has been arrested in connection with Lopez's death.

Lopez's father still believes that the murderer is someone who knew his daughter.

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