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VENTURA COUNTY ROUNDUP | West County / Oxnard

Reward Offered in Teen's Killing

November 10, 2000|TIMOTHY HUGHES

It's been nearly a year since 17-year-old Rio Mesa High School football player Ezequiel Francisco Miramontez was gunned down while sitting in his car on an El Rio street.

Thursday, an aunt and uncle of the slain teenager, along with the two Ventura County sheriff's detectives still searching for his killer, returned to the crime scene to offer a $25,000 reward for anyone providing information resulting in a conviction.

"There are people out there who know who committed this crime, and we need them to speak up," said Jay Flores, uncle of Miramontez, who was known as Frankie to his friends and relatives. "It's not fair to our family to not know who did this."

Family members and the Sheriff's Department are putting up the $25,000, Flores said.

Miramontez's body was discovered by firefighters Dec. 23 in the 2600 block of Cortez Street, slumped inside his burning 1985 Toyota Celica with two gunshot wounds to his head.

The shooting shocked his family, and sheriff's detectives remain baffled.

According to Ventura County Sheriff's Det. Tim Lorenzen, Miramontez was not a gang member and did not associate with gangs.

Lorenzen said investigators believe the killer is still in the area.

More than 90 potential witnesses have been interviewed in the past 11 months, according to investigators. Many of those questioned refused to be identified, and none has given detectives enough information to make an arrest, Lorenzen said.

Detectives are hoping the reward will prompt someone to come forward and possibly testify in court.

"There are people out there that [the killer] has bragged about this to," Lorenzen said as he stood near a faded row of Virgin Mary candles and weathered flowers, marking the spot where Miramontez died.

"It's a heart-wrenching situation for the family. Frankie was a good kid."

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