17-Year-Old Was Found Dead 2 Days After Going Out for Night — and Woman Is Charged with Murder
Phoenix police are asking the public's help in finding a woman wanted in connection with the death of a 17-year-old found dead inside her vehicle, according to the department's Facebook page.
"On July 3, 17-year-old Itzel E. Espinoza was allegedly shot by Lindsey Brianna Aguilar," police wrote. "Itzel was later found dead in a vehicle."
In a news release, police said a 911 caller reported seeing a female in the vehicle and observed that it appeared she'd been shot. First responders declared Itzel dead at the scene.
Itzel's father, Eduardo Espinoza, said that he and his wife reported the teen missing to police when she did not return home after going out with friends, reports AZFamily.com. Two days later, she was found dead.
He said the rising high school senior recently had been spending time with friends who did not have her parents' approval.
Itzel aspired to be a model and social media influencer, her father told the outlet, while he emphasized her academic studies.
She was "a character, she was funny," he said. "She was good people to be around."
On July 16, Jesus Padilla, 19, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder by facilitation for his alleged connection to the shooting death, officials told TV station CBS5.
A 16-year-old boy was also arrested, and charged with abandonment of a body, the station reported. He was booked into a juvenile detention center and has not been publicly identified because he is a minor.
According to court documents obtained by the station, Itzel and Lindsey were fighting when Itzel ran to her car and locked the door. A witness allegedly told investigators that Lindsey asked Padilla for a gun and shot into the car.
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Itzel's father was updated on the case, and he told the station he's confident the people who shot his daughter will be brought to justice.
"Pretty much one thing I will say is God is great, and they will pay for it, you know?" Espinoza told the station.
It was not immediately clear if either of the suspects had entered pleas to the charges against them, or if they had attorneys to comment for them.
Anyone with information about the case or Lindsey Aguilar should call the Phoenix Police Department at 602-262-6151.