Woman stabbed to death walking home from grocery store; suspect sought

WEST ADAMS, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Desperate for answers, family and friends gathered by a makeshift memorial on Tuesday for Maria Elena Rivas.

They handed out fliers, looking for any information they can get on her cold blooded murder.

"If you just wanted her bag, just take it and run, did you really have to stab her and leave her there to die?" said Rivas' nephew, Matthew Ochoa.

Rivas was stabbed in the back Monday around 6:30 p.m. as she walked home along busy Adams Boulevard. Just minutes before her murder, the 62 year old was seen on surveillance video buying groceries at Ralphs at Vermont Avenue and Adams Boulevard. Her purse was clearly seen on her shoulder. When she was found along the street, the purse was gone, and the groceries were left behind.

Rivas' devastated sister says she dedicated her life to her nephews. Her only focus was family and work.

"There was absolutely no reason why such an innocent lady walking home to her family should be killed in the street," said LAPD Capt. Peter Whittingham.

Detectives say at this point they have absolutely nothing to go on. Even though the murder happened at the height of rush hour, no eyewitnesses have come forward. Authorities and Rivas' family are pleading for the public's help.

"If it happened to my aunt, it can happen to anybody, and I just want people who know something about it, just come forward and say something, help us out," said her nephew, Misael Contreras.

Anyone with information on Rivas' murder is urged to contact the LAPD at 1-877-LAPD-24-7.

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