19-year-old woman randomly kidnapped from park and killed

ByEmily Shapiro ABCNews logo
Wednesday, August 23, 2023

A 19-year-old woman who was kidnapped from a Southern California park and killed appears to have been randomly targeted, according to police.

Gabriel Esparza, 20, was arrested Monday for the shooting and kidnapping of 19-year-old Andrea Vazquez, Whittier police said Tuesday.

Shortly after midnight on Sunday morning, Vazquez and a man were at the parking stalls area of Penn Park in Whittier when an armed person approached their car and shot at them, according to police.

The man who was with Vazquez -- her boyfriend, according toLos Angeles ABC station KABC -- ran away, and when he got back to his car, Vazquez was missing, police said.

The 19-year-old's body was found Monday night in a vegetation field in Moreno Valley, authorities said.

"I lost my daughter ... my angel," her father, Enrique Vazquez, told reporters. "It's the saddest day."

Vazquez was a fashion student at Fullerton College, where she was set to begin her second year on Tuesday, college President Cynthia Olivo told ABC News.

"Fullerton College is devastated to learn of the news about Andrea Vazquez," Olivo said in a statement. "We extend our condolences to her parents, family and friends."

"It appears that Andrea Vazquez and her male companion were randomly targeted," police said.

Police said they've recovered a weapon believed to have been used by Esparza, who is being held with no bail. The case will be presented on Wednesday to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office, police said.

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