MORENO VALLEY, Calif. (CBS/AP) The grieving older sister of 17-year-old Norma Lopez pleaded with her sister's murderer Thursday to surrender and explain why the teen was targeted blocks from her high school.
"The person that did this, why? Why her?" said Elizabeth Lopez, as she stood outside the family home with her father and siblings. "I don't want anybody to go through this, but why her? She had never done anything to anyone."
Norma, an avid dancer and aspiring fashion designer, was abducted last week while walking to meet a friend after a summer school class. Her body was found five days later in a field less than three miles away.
"Just get the touch of heart and turn yourself in 'cause you killed her when we want her here home. Just turn yourself in. That's all we want," Elizabeth Lopez said as her sister Sonia, 16, embraced her.
Their father Martin Lopez said he believed he felt it in his heart when his daughter died.
"For me, the way I felt it, you feel it in the chest like a pressure, like a hit, like someone was hitting me," he said in Spanish.
Investigators conducted vehicle checkpoints and questioned sex offenders as the hunt for the killer expanded.
Authorities approached drivers on a street outside the school, near the site where Norma Lopez's belongings were found last week. Detectives hoped to find someone who saw the girl close to the time she was abducted.
Investigators were also questioning registered sex offenders in Moreno Valley, sheriff's Sgt. Joseph Borja said. Fourteen registered sex offenders live within a 2-mile radius of the high school where Lopez was last seen, according to the Megan's Law website.
The raven-haired teen disappeared July 15 after leaving a biology class at Valley View High School, where she would have been a senior this year. Norma Lopez was going to meet her younger sister at the nearby home of a friend, as she had done every day since summer school began, the family said.
When Norma didn't show up, her younger sister and a friend went to look for her, found some of her personal items in a field blocks from the school and called police, said Borja. Searchers fruitlessly covered the area for several days before Lopez's body was discovered Tuesday by a man clearing brush in another rural field more than two miles away.
Authorities have declined to release her cause of death, citing the ongoing investigation, and would not say if she was sexually assaulted. Her body was identified using dental records.
Anyone with information about Norma's death is asked to call the Moreno Valley Police Hotline at 877-242-4345.