Centralized LA Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau Connects 3 East LA Unsolved Murders, 2 Persons of Interest Sought
On Wednesday, August 18, 2021, Homicide Bureau detectives announced an $80,000 reward in exchange for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the suspects responsible for the murders of 34 year-old Jesse Avalos, 38 year-old Eduardo Robles and 27 year-old Amanda “Nikki” Lopez, who were killed in East Los Angeles in 2014, 2015 and 2018, respectively. The reward was sponsored by Supervisor Hilda Solis, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, First District.
On Monday, February 10, 2014, at approximately 10:50 p.m., Victim Jesse Avalos received a phone call from an acquaintance requesting a jumpstart to his vehicle near the intersection of Telegraph Road and Arizona Avenue in East Los Angeles. Victim Avalos provided the jumpstart approximately 15 minutes later. A few hours later, East Los Angeles Sheriff’s Station received a phone call at 3:25 a.m. of an injured person at the 4800 block of Telegraph Road in East Los Angeles. There, deputies found Victim Avalos on the driver’s seat of his blue SUV. He had sustained numerous gunshot wounds. The hood of his SUV was found open and two suspects were seen around the vehicle.
On Monday, July 6, 2015, victim Eduardo Robles was involved in a physical altercation on the driveway of a residence on the 4300 block of Eagle Street in East Los Angeles. Victim Robles was visiting, and approximately 15 people were present when the incident occurred. After the fight, the suspect jumped over a wrought iron fence to the street, walked to Victim Robles’ vehicle and punctured the four tires with a sharp object and fled the location. The same suspect returned to the location five minutes later and shot Victim Robles several times in the upper torso. The suspect was picked up by a Hispanic male in his mid to late forties, five feet eight to five feet nine inches tall, heavy set build, in a light green colored vehicle.
On Sunday, April 22, 2018, at approximately 2:40 a.m., the suspect exited the passenger side of a silver PT Cruiser and began searching for Amanda “Nikki” Lopez in a homeless encampment that was situated in a courtyard in front of the East Los Angeles Courthouse. The suspect located Victim Lopez in a tent in front of the field office of First District Supervisor Hilda Solis. The suspect placed a firearm into the tent and fired at Victim Lopez while she slept, striking her in the upper torso, killing her.
Sheriff’s detectives made a plea to the public, hoping $80,000 will motivate someone to bring that missing piece of the puzzle and bring closure to these families. “We know there were witnesses at every murder,” said Homicide Bureau Captain Joe Mendoza. It was witnesses coupled with surveillance at scenes that allowed a good description of both suspects.
But what led sheriff’s investigators to explore a possible connection in these three murders? Captain Mendoza explained, “One of the things that’s unique about LA County Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau is that we are centralized and we commonly speak to other investigators about our cases. So when investigators were comparing notes on cases, they believed they had similar description of the suspects and that’s when they really started to connect the dots. The link was the descriptions of the suspects who were similarly described.”
When the ballistic evidence from the 2014 murder of Victim Avalos was compared to the ballistic evidence from the 2015 murder of Victim Robles, the comparison determined the same handgun was used in both murders.
All three murders occurred within 2.2 miles of each other and within the same general area of East Los Angeles. Although a motive for the murders was unclear, investigators believe the victims were known to the suspects and were specifically targeted based on their relationships with the suspects.
In the three cases, witnesses describe the main suspect as a Hispanic male with short hair in his late twenties, five feet eight inches tall with a medium build. He has a tattoo on his neck with unknown writing.
The second suspect drives the getaway vehicle and is described as a Hispanic male in his mid to late forties, five feet eight to five feet nine inches tall, heavy set build and possibly with a mustache.
“I speak for my family as well as the other two families. We don’t have closure, we don’t have justice and I’m sure all of these families are still suffering. Please help us, please come forward with any information you may have,” said Victim Avalos’ eldest sister, Maria Orozco.
“Our brother is truly missed by our family, by his children,” added Victim Avalos weeping sister, Bertha Avalos.
Justice Deputy Esther Lim, representing LA County Board of Supervisor’s Hilda L. Solis said, “Through this $80,000 reward, the county is counting on our residents to help us bring accountability to the perpetrators of these heinous crimes.”
“We’ve had nobody come forward that can really tell us who these suspects are,” said Captain Mendoza. “So we are trying to get them to come forward because we know those witnesses are out there. And the $80,000 reward may quite possibly help do just that.”
Video of the full press conference:
To view video surveillance of the suspect exit the passenger side of a silver PT Cruiser, search for Victim Amanda “Nikki” Lopez and fire into the tent, click and download here: https://www.lasdvideos.org/mediaportal/lasd-homicide-captain-mendoza-announces-80k-reward-in-three-east-la-unsolved-murders/
If you have information about these senseless murders, please contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau at 323-890-5500, East Los Angeles Station at (323) 264-4151 or if you prefer to provide information anonymously, call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-TIPS (8477), use your smartphone by downloading the “P3 Tips” Mobile App on Google Play or the Apple App Store, or use the website http://lacrimestoppers.org/.