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Police: Arrest Made In 17-Year-Old Norma Lopez’s Murder

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MORENO VALLEY (CBS) — Authorities have made an arrest in the murder of a 17-year-old Moreno Valley girl.

Moreno Valley Police Chief John Anderson announced Friday that they arrested Jesse Perez Torres, 35, in the death of Norma Lopez.

Lopez was abducted July 15, 2010, as she walked to a friend’s house after a summer school class at Valley View High School. Her body was found in a field five days after she disappeared.

Officials say Torres lived on Creekside Way in Moreno Valley, which is about a block from Valley View High School.

“I waited 1 yr and 3 months and my answer that I’ve been awaiting for was finally answered I promised this crime wasn’t gunna go unanswered and the FBI didn’t fail us….he’s been found and he’s in jail were going on trial…more info will be on the news tomorrow as there will be a press conference announcing my sisters killer has been found….” Lopez’s sister, Elizabeth, posted to the “Find Norma Lopez” Facebook group.

Elizabeth Lopez told reporters today, “We can’t bring her back. But at least I know who did it. I just wanna know why.”

Choking back tears she spoke directly to Torres. “Why did you have to take my sister? Why her? Why did you have to kill her? Did she do anything to you for you to actually kill her? She was young. She still had her whole life ahead of her.”

The Lopez family said they do not know Torres.  He was arrested Thursday morning in Long Beach. He has been booked on suspicion of murder and kidnapping to commit rape.

Greg Mills, reporting for KCAL9 and CBS2, says Torres has a criminal past. He’s been arrested for spousal abuse and assault with a deadly weapon. Mills says those charges were eventually dropped.

Speaking for her family, Elizabeth Lopez said her family is not asking for the death penalty. She said, “No, that would be the easy way out for him.”

Torres  is being held in a Riverside jail on $1 million bail.

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