Five suspects have been arrested in connection with the allegedly premeditated slaying of a woman whose body was found dumped off a roadway in Temecula, California, last month, police confirmed Thursday.
The National City Police Department (NCPD) said these suspects are in custody for the killing of Alexandria Smith: Pablo Victor Valadez, 35; Crystal Lopez Melendez, 33; Amber Star Suarez, 37; Jonnie Alexander Isaguirre, 22; Maria Yvette Perreira, 26.
The five suspects were arrested in various places across San Diego County, police said, including south San Diego, Chula Vista, Vista, Shelltown and National City. They will face charges of first-degree murder and premeditated murder, the NCPD said.
Smith, 30, was last seen by her mother on Oct. 2 as she drove down El Cajon Boulevard in San Diego’s College Area. She was on her way to a party in National City but was never heard from again.
Smith was reported missing. A few days later, her cellphone was found in a dumpster in Vista by a person who was rummaging through trash looking for recyclables.
On Oct. 12, her body was discovered in remote area off Pala Temecula Road in Temecula, just north of San Diego County.
Sherelle Martin, Smith's best friend of 18 years, told NBC 7 last month that she had come to San Diego from Oregon to help search for her missing friend.
She said Smith's family was preparing for the worst.
"It's been hell. It's been awful," Martin said in an interview earlier Friday. "Deep down, we think it's the worst and we're trying to mentally prepare ourselves for that."
Their fears were confirmed when police identified the body on Pala Temecula Road as Smith.
Martin said Smith had recently gone through a rough patch but her disappearance was puzzling, especially because she had a 10-year-old daughter.
Details of Smith's killing have not yet been released, including the possible motive.