Authorities in Southern California have revealed that a 19-year-old woman who was kidnapped from a park and subsequently killed appears to have been a random target. Whittier police announced on Tuesday that Gabriel Esparza, 20, has been arrested in connection with the shooting and kidnapping of Andrea Vazquez. The tragic incident occurred in the early hours of Sunday morning at Penn Park in Whittier, where Vazquez and her boyfriend were approached by an armed individual who opened fire on their vehicle.
According to the police, Vazquez’s boyfriend managed to escape the attack and fled the scene. However, upon returning to his car, he discovered that Vazquez was missing. The devastating news came to light on Monday night when authorities found the lifeless body of the 19-year-old in a vegetation field in Moreno Valley. Vazquez’s father, Enrique Vazquez, expressed his grief, stating, “I lost my daughter… my angel. It’s the saddest day.”
Andrea Vazquez was a fashion student at Fullerton College, where she was about to begin her second year. College President Cynthia Olivo conveyed the institution’s deep sorrow upon learning of Vazquez’s tragic fate. Olivo extended condolences to the grieving parents, family, and friends of the young student. The police have determined that Vazquez and her male companion were seemingly targeted at random, and that they had no prior relationship to the killer.
Gabriel Esparza, the alleged perpetrator, is currently being held without bail. Authorities have recovered a weapon believed to have been used in the crime. The case is set to be presented to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office on Wednesday for further legal action.