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Cal State LA student's suspected killer arrested in Ecuador

September 7, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
After nearly three years, police have arrested a suspect in the murder case of a Southern California girl found dead in Ecuador.

Authorities in Ecuador tracked down the suspect in the hills of Quito. This comes just days before the anniversary of Daniella Lopez's death on Sept. 9. The 26-year-old Cal State L.A. student spent the summer of 2009 volunteering and visiting family in Ecuador. Just days before she was scheduled to return to California, her body was discovered in a park in Ambato. She had been stabbed several times.

Lopez's mother, Gloria Lema, says a private investigator, lawmakers from California and the U.S. government worked together to help get justice for her daughter. She also says she is grateful to the authorities who were instrumental in making the arrest.

"Finally, after three long years, I get justice for my daughter," said Lema. "She was the best person in the world, not because she was my daughter -- it was because she was a nice person, sweet girl, everybody knows her. She loves work and school."

Lema works at Joseph Martin Salon in Beverly Hills and she says she is very grateful to her boss and so many people for all the support she has received these last three years. While the arrest won't bring her daughter back, she is relieved the suspect is no longer on the run.

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