HIGHLAND PARK (CBSLA) — Susana Pardo was on her morning jog when she noticed a man seemingly stalking her as she made her way through Highland Park.
"The look on his face," she recalled. "His eyes, just looked like he was empty... He was very, very scary."
As she continued her jog, she continually spotted the man confirming her suspicions and gut instinct that this man was a predator. When she got to the intersection at Meridian Street and Figueroa Street she darted over to a nearby mechanic at Starline Motors and as she cried, asked him to help. The mechanic told Pardo to go to the office, however, still uneasy and concerned that the man with the empty eyes could be around the corner, she asked the employee to escort her to the office. Again, her fears were validated as the suspicious man appeared in front of the shop, pacing back and forth, never breaking eye contact with her through the window. According to Pardo, the employees shielded her and scolded the man until he left.
A month later, she saw the man's face again, except it was on a newscast. She said Shawn Laval Smith, the man charged with the murder of Brianna Kupfer, was the same man who followed her through Highland Park on that fateful day.
Smith is accused of killing Kupfer, a 24-year-old UCLA student who was working alone a the Croft House when investigators claim Smith inexplicably stabbed her and left the young woman to die.
"I can only imagine what she was feeling in those moments," Pardo said. "'Am I being paranoid? Is this person really going to do something to me?'"
Pardo said that's how police made her feel after her brush with Smith. According to her, the police suggested that the man, who had left before authorities arrived, could have been simply trying to talk to her. Pardo said that the officers declined to file a police report and instead gave her notes on the back of a card that read "No evidence of stalking. If happened again, to take an incident report for stalking."
"So many women go through this," she said. "We aren't validated. We're disregarded."
Pardo said that she has since been in contact with investigators working on the Kupfer case. Pardo said she wonders if police investigated a little bit more if it would have made a difference and possibly saved Kupfer.
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