19-year-old found dead in field after she was kidnapped from park, California cops say

A 19-year-old woman who went missing after she was kidnapped from a California park has been found dead, police say.

Andrea Vazquez and a man were in the parking lot at Penn Park in Whittier when a man with a gun approached shortly after midnight Sunday, Aug. 20, Whittier police said in a news release, McClatchy News previously reported.

The man with Vazquez told officers he ran away after the man fired a shot in their direction, police said. When he returned, he found blood near his vehicle, and Vazquez was missing, according to police.

It seems that Vazquez and the man were “randomly targeted,” police said in an Aug. 22 Facebook post.

After Vazquez went missing, police said they searched for her in “large open land areas of Moreno Valley.”

Vazquez was found dead “in a vegetation field” in Moreno Valley at about 11:50 p.m. Aug. 21, police said.

Gabriel Esparza, 20, of Whittier, was arrested at his Lakewood workplace Aug. 21, police said. He was booked into jail on counts of murder and kidnapping and is being held without bail.

Both the weapon believed to have been used during the shooting and Esparza’s truck were recovered, according to police.

Police said the investigation is ongoing.

Anyone with information is asked to contact police at 562-567-9299.

Whittier is about 20 miles southeast of Los Angeles.

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