Prosecutors 'Still Reviewing Case' Against L.B. Man Accused of Killing Norma Lopez

A 48-hour deadline expired Monday with prosecutors unwilling to file charges against Jesse Perez Torres, 35, of Long Beach, who was arrested last week in the 2010 kidnap-killing of 17-year-old Norma Lopez in Moreno Valley.

Prosecutors did not file formal charges as expected Monday against a man accused in the kidnap-killing of 17-year-old Norma Lopez in 2010 in Moreno Valley.

Jesse Perez Torres, 35, of Long Beach, was released from custody briefly at the end of court hours Monday in Riverside, and re-arrested on the same charges of murder and kidnapping to commit sexual assault, Riverside County sheriff's officials said.

Torres remained locked up Monday evening at Robert Presley Detention Center in Riverside, Deputy Angel Ramos of the Sheriff's Department said in a phone interview.

"We're still reviewing the case and we're not at a point where we can make a final filing decision," District Attorney's spokesman John Hall said in a phone interview Monday evening.

"We have to be able to prove our case beyond a reasonable doubt and we're not at that point yet," Hall said.

Asked for specifics about the decision not to file formal charges Monday, Hall said he could not discuss details of the case against Torres.

The when she took a shortcut from summer school, and the discovery of her body five days later, rocked the Moreno Valley community and made national headlines in July 2010.

There was a small measure of solace last week for Norma's family, loved ones, classmates and neighbors, when finally a suspect was behind bars 15 months after the teen's death. But there was no joy.

Torres was taken into custody in Long Beach at 6 a.m. Thursday, Riverside County sheriff's officials said.

His Long Beach address was not disclosed, nor whether he was taken into custody at the residence.

Torres was booked in Riverside about 6 p.m. Thursday, with bail set at $1 million.

At a news conference Friday to announce Torres' arrest, Moreno Valley Police Chief John Anderson said, "We are confident we have the suspect in custody and can breathe a sigh of relief now."

Also attending the news conference were Norma's father, Martin Lopez, and her sister, Elizabeth.

A 48-hour deadline to file formal charges against Torres passed at the end of court hours Monday, Hall said.

Torres was held without bail Monday night in Riverside on suspicion of one count of murder and one count of kidnap to commit sexual assault, according to inmate records.

Torres was living in Moreno Valley near Valley View High School last year when Norma disappeared, according to investigators.

Moreno Valley contracts for its law enforcement with the Riverside County Sheriff's Department.

The Sheriff's Department urged anyone with further information about Norma's disapperance and death to contact Central Homicide Investigator James Merrill at (951) 955-2777.


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