It was a day of mourning Wednesday for the community of Moreno Valley.
More than 1,000 people packed the Saint Christopher Catholic Church for a closed-casket memorial service for 17-year-old Norma Lopez.
The tragic death of Lopez brought the community together.
Thousands showed up to pay their respects to Lopez and her family.
The line to get inside the church wrapped around several buildings.
Some people know her personally.
“It’s very tough, because she was very close,” said Jasmine D’caprio, Norma’s friend.
Others knew her only by name.
“But you know what, she’s our child,” said Patricia Knight, a grieving community member. “She [is] our child from our community.”
“I think it’s horrible,” said Sally, who preferred not to share her last name. “My heart bled for the mother.”
Loved ones and friends of Lopez entered the church to pass by the casket.
A slide show recapping Norma’s life was on display, while music played in the background.
Flowers were everywhere.
“It’s heartbreaking in there,” said Yvonne Robles, a grieving community member. “The family is sitting in there and you can walk by and, you know, say whatever you need to say to them.”
“I told the mother very humbly, that I will help her with whatever she needs help with and God loves her,” said Sally.
Grief then quickly turned to anger and outrage, because more than a week after Lopez’s body was found, the killer is still on the loose.
“This has got to stop,” said Brenda Dunbar, an angry mother.
“We’re mothers, and oh my God, it could happen to any one of us,” said Sally.
“It’s enough to make you vomit,” said Knight. “The thought of somebody hurting somebody else — for what reason? What reason?”
The full mass funeral is Thursday afternoon. It starts at 1 p.m. at the Saint Christopher Catholic Church on Cottonwood Avenue, and it will be open to the public.