Andrea Vazquez: California woman shot and kidnapped from boyfriend’s car found dead

The body of Andrea Vazquez, 19, was discovered in an open field in Moreno Valley

Graeme Massie
Los Angeles
Wednesday 23 August 2023 02:03 BST
California woman Andrea Vasquez found dead after being shot and kidnapped from park near Los Angeles

A California woman who was reportedly shot and abducted from her boyfriend’s car in a park near Los Angeles has been found dead, police have confirmed.

The body of Andrea Vazquez, 19, was discovered in an open field in Moreno Valley, not far from where her family say her phone last pinged and they found traces of blood.

Whitter Police Department say that they have arrested 20-year-old Gabriel Esparza as the main suspect in the case and charged him with murder and kidnapping.

Police said Mr Esparza, a Whittier resident, was arrested at his job Monday in the city of Lakewood. He has since been booked into the Whittier Police Department and is being held without bail.

Police have called this a random killing.

“At this time, it appears that Andrea Vazquez and her male companion were randomly targeted by the suspect at Penn Park,” police said in a statement.

And they added that investigators had recovered the weapon believed to have been used in the slaying, as well as the suspect’s vehicle, a 2013 White Toyota Tacoma truck, was also recovered.

Andrea Vazquez
Andrea Vazquez (Whittier Police Department)

Officials say that her body was found late on Monday night and that the victim’s family were informed on Tuesday morning.

“This is not the outcome they wanted, but they do realize Whittier Police worked around the clock,” said Moses Castillo, a former LAPD detective and advocate for the family. “Their pain and grief is beyond description.”

The victim was shot and kidnapped from Penn Park in Whittier after she had been sitting in a parked car with her boyfriend.

Gabriel Esparza, 20, is charged with murder and kidnapping
Gabriel Esparza, 20, is charged with murder and kidnapping (WPD)

Investigators say that the boyfriend fled the gunfire and when he returned to the vehicle he “discovered blood” near by and Ms Vazquez gone.

Police say that the case will be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office on Wednesday.

Vazquez was a fashion design student at Fullerton College and also worked at a mall in Cerritos.

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