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Authorities Say Body Is That of Bride to Be

September 01, 1993|TIMOTHY WILLIAMS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

SUNLAND — The body of a woman found shot and wrapped in plastic sheets in the Angeles National Forest was identified Tuesday as a 26-year-old Pacoima woman who disappeared after meeting with her fiance and the minister who was to marry them, authorities said.

Manuela Nellie Torres was last seen alive Aug. 19 in a Montrose church, where she and her fiancee met with Isaiah Yoo, the pastor of a congregation that rents space at the First Baptist Church in Montrose, authorities said.

That evening, Yoo had talked with the couple about decorations, food and entertainment for the wedding ceremony that was scheduled to be held at the church Saturday, Yoo said.

Afterward, Yoo's wife joined the three in a prayer asking for a successful marriage, Yoo said.

"They seemed very happy together," Yoo said.

After the meeting, which ended about 7:45 p.m., Torres and her fiancee, whom authorities have not identified, left in separate vehicles, said Benita Hinojos of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department.

The following morning, Torres' fiancee filed a missing persons report with the San Fernando Police Department, Hinojos said.

Forest rangers found Torres' decomposing body Aug. 25 near mile marker 6.44 near Big Tujunga Canyon Road. On Monday, Glendale police found Torres' 1989 Mazda pickup truck in Glendale, Hinojos said.

Homicide investigators have no suspects in the case.

Torres, who worked as a mail carrier, had taken Bible study classes and attended Woo's church for about three years.

"We are really shocked," Yoo said of the 25-member congregation. "There is no reason for this kind of thing to happen. Everybody liked her."

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