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Killing of Riverside County Mother Stuns Relatives; Signs Show Struggle

The mother of four, whose teen stepdaughter found her body outside their Glen Avon home, was liked. There are signs of a struggle inside.

September 24, 2004|Lance Pugmire | Times Staff Writer

A 31-year-old mother of four was found dead and bloodied outside her Glen Avon home late Thursday morning, shocking family members who described her as friendly and well-liked in the neighborhood.

The body of Blanca Lilia Vasquez-Nunez was discovered in the side yard about 11:50 a.m. by her teenage stepdaughter, who had returned home from work a few hours after Vasquez-Nunez dropped off her own three children at a nearby elementary school.

Riverside County sheriff's investigators were trying to determine whether the victim knew the killer or whether it was a random home invasion.

No witnesses have emerged, said sheriff's spokesman Sgt. Earl Quinata.

Quinata said there were obvious signs of struggle inside the white, single-story ranch-style home, including items that were "toppled over and displaced."

Family members who gathered near the home, in the 10000 block of Ben Nevis Boulevard, said authorities told them the body showed signs of having been stabbed, and her face appeared bruised.

"She got along with everybody," said Yvette Acosta, a cousin of Vasquez-Nunez. "There was never any drugs here, and no abuse. She must have been a victim of a robbery and murder."

The victim's new Honda Civic was apparently stolen after she was killed, officials said. It was found about 3 p.m. at nearby Mission Bell Elementary, which each of Vasquez-Nunez's own three children attend.

Her husband and stepdaughter were interviewed by investigators but are not considered suspects, authorities said. Both were at work when the crime occurred, Quinata said.

Acosta said, "She was a mother who gave other kids in the neighborhood a ride to school, and let all the kids come play at her house. This is just amazing. Why would someone decide to pick that house?"

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