Cathy Torrez, Samuel Agustin Lopez: ‘Dateline NBC’ Repeats 20-Year Cold Case Of Placentia, California, Murder, Episode ‘The Promise’

The Cathy Torrez, Placentia, California, murder case is set to air tonight on Dateline NBC. Dateline frequently airs repeat episodes on Thursday nights. According to producers, DatelineNBC will also include Saturday nights beginning this fall. Cathy Torrez was a bright 20-year-old Cal State Fullerton honors student who vanished one night in 1994. She was found dead a week later. Her case went cold for two decades, until her ex-boyfriend, Samuel Agustin Lopez, was arrested and convicted of her stabbing death. At age 43, Lopez was sentenced to 26 years in prison earlier this year, according to KTLA.

The Cathy Torrez murder case made headlines on February 12, 1994, just after the teen was reported missing. Family members told investigators that Cathy was last seen at her place of employment, located at 150 E. Yorba Linda Blvd. Coworkers at the Sav On Drug store stated that Cathy had plans to meet her ex-boyfriend, Samuel Augustin Lopez, after work.

Investigators tried desperately to find her, but had no success at first. Cathy Torrez’ mother was convinced that if police could find the missing girl’s car, they would find Cathy. As the Torrez family prepared to pass out fliers and search for her, an officer arrived at the home to tell them that her car had been found in a hospital parking lot, and her body was inside.

An autopsy report concluded that poor Cathy Torrez was stabbed multiple times, including in the head, face, and upper body. Her throat had also been cut.

In the tragic days after the discovery of her body, close friends and relatives struggled to find out what may have happened to her. With no evidence, the case went cold for the next 20 years.

Cathy Torrez was described as a bubbly young woman, who was always laughing and smiling. That was the one thing her sister remembered about the last time she saw Cathy. According to her, just after Cathy left to go to work, she passed her in traffic. The two acknowledged each other, and Cathy flashed her gorgeous smile. Always serious about her studies, there was so much more that Cathy wanted to do in life. Her mother said that Cathy longed to visit Mexico’s ranches and hoped that, someday, a nice man would buy her a dozen red roses.

As for her relationships, people who knew Cathy said that she often had problems with her boyfriends, and that she had a rocky relationship with Samuel Lopez, her on-again-off-again lover.

To see how investigators finally traced the murder to her ex, Samuel Agustin Lopez, be sure to watch Dateline NBC tonight at 9/8 central. Below is the tease for tonight’s episode entitled The Promise. For further reading, see Inquisitr articles about two other Dateline NBC cases involving Marc Despain and Savanna Todd.

Dateline: ‘The Promise’ Trailer

“When a 20-year-old honors student goes missing after work, her family suspects the worst. As police investigate, questions surrounding her disappearance begin to hit close to home. Dateline reports on a mystery that would take more than 20 years to solve.”

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