Erica Alonso's father vows to find answers in her mysterious death

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The devastated father of Erica Alonso, an Orange County woman who went missing in mid-February and whose body was found last week in the Cleveland National Forest, says he believes his daughter was murdered.

Through music, tears and prayer, hundreds of people said their last goodbyes to Erica Alonso on Friday. The body of the 28-year-old Laguna Hills resident was discovered on April 27 in the rugged terrain of the Cleveland National Forest near the Ortega Highway.

"She was a very happy person. She would befriend anybody because she was a very nice person, but at the same time she was very strong," said Isaac Alonso, Erica's father.

While her family and friends celebrated her life at the funeral mass, questions remain unanswered.

Alonso went missing on Feb. 15 after a date with an on-again, off-again boyfriend.

The Orange County Sheriff's Department says the pair met another couple at the Sutra Lounge in Costa Mesa. The couple then gave Alonso and her ex-boyfriend a ride to his home in Irvine. Around 4 a.m., Alonso got into a fight with her ex-boyfriend and left his home in the middle of the night.

Her Honda Civic was found in Aliso Viejo in March, about a mile away from her home, where she lives with her parents. It was unclear how long the car had been sitting in the neighborhood, but sheriff's deputies say they found no useful evidence inside.

"I'm pretty sure that she was murdered by someone. I don't know who," her father told Eyewitness News following the funeral.

An autopsy showed no obvious signs of trauma and her cause of death remains undetermined.

While the family waits anxiously for clues, Isaac Alonso says he's upset her ex-boyfriend, the last person to see her alive, has not approached the family and did not attend the funeral.

"He could know what happened to her, that he's not speaking up, that he's not saying whatever he's hiding," he said.

The sheriff's department did not release the name of the man and they say he's not a suspect, because his story checks out.

"We've looked at the boyfriend. He was the last person who saw her or talked to her the evening of or morning of Feb. 15," Orange County Sheriff's Department Lt. Jeff Hallock said. "We're going to take a look and ask questions, but we need to stay focused on the facts and see where the investigation takes us."

As the family lays Alonso to rest, her father says the focus now shifts to finding the truth.

"I'm not going to stop until we find the person who did this," Isaac Alonso said.

The results of a toxicology test are expected in 4-6 weeks.

Anyone with additional information is asked to call Orange County Sheriff's Department's Homicide Unit at (714) 647-7055 or (714) 647-7000. Anonymous tips may also be submitted to Orange County Crime Stoppers at 855-TIP-OCCS (855-847-6227) or at occrimestoppers.org.

Related Topics:
missing womanmissing personbody foundorange county sheriff's departmentfuneralOrange CountyLaguna HillsAliso ViejoSan Juan Capistrano
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