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News Update: Additional Charges Filed Against Gabriel Esparza in Andrea Vazquez Case

Updated: Aug 24, 2023

Whittier, CA - August 24, 2023

A disturbing new turn has emerged in the case of 19-year-old Andrea Vazquez, as the Los Angeles County District Attorney's Office announced a chilling update to the charges against Gabriel Sean Esparza. Esparza, who was initially charged with the kidnapping, attempted rape, and murder of Andrea Vazquez, is now facing additional charges related to the attempted murder of her boyfriend.

The news has sent shockwaves through the community, further amplifying the gravity of the crime that has already shaken Whittier to its core.

District Attorney George Gascón issued a statement expressing the profound impact of the crime on the community: "Our hearts ache for the devastating loss of a young life. The heinous nature of this crime, involving the murder, kidnapping, and attempted rape of an innocent young woman, shocks our community to its core." Gascón vowed that his office would relentlessly pursue justice for Andrea Vazquez and her partner.

Gabriel Sean Esparza, a resident of Whittier, now faces a more extensive list of charges, including one count of murder, one count of willful, deliberate, and premeditated attempted murder, one count of kidnapping to commit rape, one count of kidnapping, one count of assault with intent to commit rape, and two counts of attempted forcible rape. Notably, the charges involving the rape have been switched to attempted rape, although the severity of the crime remains unchanged. The prosecution has also alleged special circumstances of murder during the course of kidnapping and murder during the course of an attempted rape.

The updated charges include allegations that Esparza personally used a rifle during the commission and attempted commission of the offenses. He pleaded not guilty during his arraignment and is currently being held without bail.

The disturbing sequence of events that unfolded on August 20 is detailed in the statement. Esparza allegedly shot at Andrea Vazquez and her boyfriend in the parking stalls area of Penn Park in Whittier. He then reportedly kidnapped Vazquez and drove her to a remote area of Moreno Valley in Riverside County. There, he attempted to rape her before ultimately discarding her body in a field.

The arrest of Esparza on August 21, carried out by Whittier police detectives and LADA's Bureau of Investigation Community Violence Reduction Team, marked a crucial turning point in the investigation. Tragically, it was on the same day that Andrea Vazquez's lifeless body was discovered in Moreno Valley.

The case continues to be a joint effort involving the Whittier Police Department, LADA's Bureau of Investigation Community Violence Reduction Team, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, and the Downey and La Habra police departments.

As the legal process unfolds, the community remains united in its pursuit of justice and support for the Vazquez family and the victim's boyfriend. The profound tragedy that has befallen Andrea Vazquez serves as a stark reminder of the need for vigilance and solidarity against such acts of violence.

For further information, please contact Officer Tommy Mattsson at tmattsson@cityofwhittier.org or 562-244-0045.



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