Suspect In 2002 Murder of Brenda Sierra Found Dead In Mexico

By EGP Staff Report

A man who had been named as the fifth suspect in the 2002 abduction-murder of an East Los Angeles teenager was found dead in Mexico, the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department revealed Tuesday.

Brenda Sierra, pictured, at age 15. (EGP photo archive)

Brenda Sierra, pictured, at age 15. (EGP photo archive)

The teenager disappeared on Oct. 18, 2002, while walking from her home to a friend’s home in the East Los Angeles area to catch a ride with a friend to Schurr High School in Montebello.

The high school sophomore’s body was discovered the next day in San Bernardino County. She had died of blunt-force trauma to the head, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office.

As previously reported by EGP, detectives said Sierra was targeted to send a message to the community that there is a price to pay for cooperating with police. Sierra’s older brother had witnessed a gang-related shooting in East L.A. less than two weeks before her murder, Sheriff’s Homicide Det. Larry Brandenberg said at the time, adding that Sierra’s brother was one of the witnesses who alerted police to the shooting.
Sierra was kidnapped at Whittier Boulevard and Leanard Avenue and taken to a home in the 600 block of Williamson Avenue in East Los Angeles where she was raped.

She was then taken to the 900 block of Miller Avenue in Los Angeles where her attackers bludgeoned her to death

After years of investigation, five suspects were identified, and the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s office filed murder charges against the suspects in March 2015.

Three of the suspects were arrested that year and are awaiting trial. Investigators learned that the fourth suspect had been killed in East Los Angeles a year after the teen was killed.

The fifth suspect, 37-year-old George Barraza, fled to Mexico, and detectives had been working to have him extradited him back to the United States to stand trial while monitoring his activity, according to a sheriff’s statement.

Sheriff’s detectives learned in September that Barraza had been killed in Sinaloa, and U.S. marshals confirmed his death.

Sheriff detectives had for years sought the public’s help in the case with little success. A reward of $50,000 for information leading to the killer or killers was offered, only to remain unclaimed.

“Due to suspect Barraza’s rumored reputation of being involved in local gangs in the East Los Angeles and drug cartels in Mexico, potential witnesses may have hesitated to come forward,” according to a sheriff’s statement. “Detectives believe that additional individuals may have information related to this crime.”

Anyone with information on the case was urged to call the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

Information from City News Service was used in this report.


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October 19, 2017  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.


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