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No Leads in Slaying of Girl, 15

October 23, 2002|Scott Gold | Times Staff Writer

San Bernardino County Sheriff's deputies met with their Los Angeles counterparts and launched an investigation into the killing of a 15-year-old East Los Angeles girl who disappeared Friday morning as she walked to a friend's home.

Brenda Sierra's body was discovered Saturday in a remote wooded area in the San Bernardino Mountains near Crestline and Lake Arrowhead.

Authorities were awaiting results of an autopsy late Tuesday, said San Bernardino County Sheriff's Department spokesman Chip Patterson. The body had signs of injuries, Patterson said, but officials declined to reveal what the injuries were. There was no obvious cause of death, he said.

Officials were also investigating whether Sierra was sexually assaulted., He said authorities had made no arrests and had no information about a possible suspect or motive. He also said it remains unclear whether a stranger or an acquaintance was responsible for the crime.

"We're open to any possibility right now, until and unless we get some more concrete information," Patterson said. "It's just very open-ended, and in the early stages. We're going to be working backward, piecing her life together."

Authorities know so little about the case that they aren't even sure where they will formally locate the crime scene. For now, San Bernardino County and Los Angeles County have joint jurisdiction over the case, Patterson said.

It appears that the body was dumped in the wooded area, Patterson said.

"But we don't know anything at all about what transpired before that," he said.

Sierra left her house on South Leonard Avenue at 7 a.m. Friday. She was en route to a friend's house a few blocks away, and then planned to ride to Schurr High School in Montebello.

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