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California and the West

Third Suspect Is Sought in Kidnapping

Crime: As friends and family bid farewell to teenager, police obtain arrest warrant in his slaying.

March 10, 1998|BONNIE HAYES and GREG HERNANDEZ | TIMES STAFF WRITERS

YORBA LINDA — Authorities named a third suspect Monday in the slaying of a 17-year-old Yorba Linda youth and the rape and shooting of his girlfriend, as two alleged accomplices remained in a Las Vegas jail pending an extradition hearing.

Michael L. Martinez, 21, and Florence L. Noriega, 28, both of Norwalk, were arrested in a Las Vegas motel late Saturday after a stolen Chevrolet El Camino they had been driving was found in the motel parking lot, authorities said.

They were booked into the Clark County Detention Center for investigation of murder. Two firearms--a 9-millimeter handgun and a .22-caliber rifle--were found inside the room, officials said.

On Monday, investigators obtained an arrest warrant for a third suspect, Jose A. Ibarra, 19, who was being sought on suspicion of kidnapping, extortion and murder, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Lt. Frank Merriman said.

Authorities said the suspects had been staying at the Norwalk home where Chad Allan MacDonald Jr., 17, and his girlfriend had been visiting and then held captive.

MacDonald's body was found dumped in a South Los Angeles alley Wednesday. An autopsy revealed that he had been strangled.

On Monday, on the 17th anniversary of his own father's funeral, MacDonald was buried after an emotional service marked with occasional laughter, many tears and a degree of relief that two arrests had been made.

But most of the more than 500 family members and friends who bade the teenager farewell simply wondered why his life was cut so short.

"Chad did not deserve the brutal and hateful death that he suffered," said his cousin, Peter Camarata, speaking on behalf of his family. "Chad is a victim of our lost and corrupt society."

Investigators allege that the three suspects held the teenagers captive for several days before killing MacDonald and taking the girl to the Angeles National Forest, where she said she was raped repeatedly, shot in the jaw and left for dead. The girl managed to flag down a passing motorist for help and remained in stable condition late Monday.

"She was lucky, lucky," Merriman said. "It is amazing she made it out alive."

Sheriff's officials declined to say what evidence linked the suspects to the slaying and rape, or why MacDonald went to the Norwalk home in the first place.

He apparently called his girlfriend to pick him up at the home, which has been described by city officials and neighbors as a frequent site of suspected drug activity.

Records show that all three suspects have been either arrested or convicted of drug offenses.

Noriega has been repeatedly convicted of drug charges since 1988. In 1991, she was convicted of assault with a deadly weapon and, two years later, for prostitution. She was due in court later this month on an unrelated charge of possession of a firearm.

Law enforcement sources said Martinez, who is suspected of shooting MacDonald's girlfriend in the jaw, has been arrested five times in three Los Angeles County cities on drug possession charges, most involving methamphetamine. Ibarra has been arrested at least once on similar charges by sheriff's deputies in Norwalk.

Extradition proceedings for the two suspects in custody could begin as early as today, when they are scheduled to appear before a Las Vegas judge.

"We've heard they are leaning toward signing" a waiver of their rights to an extradition hearing, Merriman said, and they could be returned to Los Angeles County within five days.

Times staff writer Scott Martelle contributed to this report.

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