A vehicle tied to a missing California teen and two murder suspects has been found near the Mexican border, KABC-TV reports.
Authorities searching for 15-year-old Alora Benitez located a vehicle on Friday in San Ysidro, a border town south of San Diego.
Investigators believe the car, a white 2013 BMW sedan, was driven by Benitez’s mother, Marciela Mercado, and her ex-husband, Roman Cerratos, both of whom are suspects in the murder of 32-year-old Jeffery Appel, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Office.
Appel was found dead Tuesday morning in the front seat of a car in a business park, according to KTLA-TV. Police have not publicly released how Appel died, but what looked like blood was visible on the outside of the Audi he was found in, the television station reports. A trail of blood could also be seen in the parking lot and a nearby street.
#AmberAlert – *UPDATE in CARSON HOMICIDE. Unoccupied VEHICLE RECOVERED by @SanDiegoPD in #SanYsidro. Suspects and Victim still outstanding. New bulletin with updated photos' @CarsonLASD https://t.co/ptRsm1CFiC pic.twitter.com/9hdx9Offrp
— LA County Sheriff's (@LASDHQ) April 20, 2019
It was not immediately clear what relationship, if any, Mercado or Cerratos had with Appel.
Benitez was last seen in Torrance, California, on Wednesday morning. She is Hispanic, 5-feet, 2-inches tall, weighs about 100 pounds and has brown eyes and hair.
Authorities issued an Amber Alert for Benitez around 10 a.m. Thursday that was sent to cellphones across the state of California.
Mercado and Cerratos should be considered armed and dangerous. Anyone who sees them should not approach them, but instead is urged to call 911.
To report information about the case, call detectives Lawler or Blaggthe of the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Office Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500. Anonymous tipsters can call 800-222-TIPS (8477).
[Feature Photo: Alora Benitez/Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau]