Loved-ones and friends of Norma Lopez, the 17-year- old Moreno Valley girl abducted and killed less than two weeks ago, are expected to remember her today in a public memorial service at St. Christopher’s Catholic Church.
A funeral Mass is set for 1 p.m. Thursday at the same church. Norma’s family said people are welcome to pay their respects.
Norma was abducted July 15 and her body was found five days later, about 2 1/2 miles from where she was taken.
The teen had attended summer school the morning of her kidnapping and was en route to a friend’s house on Cottonwood Avenue when she was snatched, according to Riverside County sheriff’s officials.
Investigators won’t say how Norma died or whether she was sexually assaulted.
Members of the girl’s family talked about their loss Thursday outside their home on Dunbar Court.
“She was an amazing girl, always had a smile on her face, no matter what,” recalled Elizabeth Lopez, Norma’s 18-year-old sister. “Something like this should’ve never happened to her, just from how she was — a very unique, wonderful girl.”
Norma is survived by her parents, Martin and Norma, and six brothers and sisters.
A green sport utility vehicle was seen leaving the field where Norma was last seen alive. Riverside County sheriff’s Sgt. Joe Borja said investigators would still like to know who was in the vehicle — if nothing else than to rule out the occupants as suspects.
A $35,000 reward is being offered for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people responsible for killing Norma. A bank account has been opened at Wells Fargo into which well-wishers can deposit funds to benefit the slain girl’s family. Donations can be made at any branch.
Over the weekend, a car wash was held to raise money for funeral expenses, and a local restaurant chain donated a portion of its sales proceeds. Some $25,000 has been raised so far, according to published reports.
Anyone with information on the case was urged to call (877) 242-4345.