The case of missing California teenager Norma Lopez came to a sad end today when authorities confirmed that the severely decomposed body found in nearby brush had been identified as the 17-year-old.
Lopez was reported missing by her sister on July 15th after she failed to arrive at a post summer sch00l lunch date. She disappeared sometime between 10am and 12:30pm on that day, and authorities say that signs of a struggle were apparent in the location they believe she may have been abducted from- just blocks from where summer school classes were held. Although there are scant leads in the case, police said a “green SUV” was seen speeding from the scene that day and that they are seeking the driver and or passengers.
A spokesman for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department said that although Lopez had been missing for less than a week, extant weather conditions in the area made identification of Lopez’s remains very difficult:
Exposed to the elements during the recent heat wave, the remains were so decomposed that authorities could not immediately determine the sex of the deceased, let alone tell if it was Lopez’s body, said Riverside County Sheriff’s Department spokesman Sgt. Joe Borja.
Just prior to the discovery of Lopez’s body Tuesday, a $35,000 reward was offered for her safe return or for information leading to the arrest and conviction of those responsible for her disappearance.