Who Is Alora Benitez? New Details About The Missing Teen Abducted By Murder Suspects

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Who Is Alora Benitez? New Details About The Missing Teen Abducted By Murder Suspects
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A young teen was abducted on April 17th in the Los Angeles area. Alora Benitez’s two captors are suspects in a homicide investigation. Maricela Mercado and Roman Cerratos are wanted for a murder that took place on Tuesday, Apr. 16. Jeffrey Appel, 32, was found dead in the city of Carson. His body was discovered in the front seat of a white Audi parked in an office parking lot at ASAP Drug Solutions. Detectives have not yet said how Appel died. According to Heavy, witnesses saw homicide investigators with a knife recovered from the crime scene. They also saw blood splattered on the car’s exterior, and trails of blood from the car around the parking lot.

Mercado and Cerratos are considered “armed and dangerous” by police. Anyone who sees Mercado, Cerratos, or Alora Benitez is urged to call 911. Other information pertinent to the investigation should contact the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Anonymous tips should be sent to Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

Who is Alora Benitez? Below are five details about the 15-year-old girl and her abduction.

1. She’s from Redondo Beach

Alora is from the Los Angeles area. Redondo Beach, Manhattan Beach and Hermosa Beach are south of Los Angeles and collectively referred to as the South Bay. Redondo Beach is also directly west of the city of Torrance, where Alora was last seen. She was spotted in a white sedan on Wednesday, April 17th, at around 9 a.m.

Pictures of Alora Benitez, along with an emergency alert about her abduction.

2. One of the captors is her mother

Maricela Mercado, 40, is not only one of Alora’s captors,  she’s also her mother. The two were living together in an apartment. KVVU TV reported, however, that Mercado was recently seen moving items out of the apartment. Mercado is 5’3” and 130 pounds. She is Hispanic and has brown hair and brown eyes. Her accomplice, Roman Cerratos, is also her ex-husband. Cerratos, 39, is 6’1” and 210 pounds. He is Hispanic as well, with brown eyes. He is bald and has a gray and black beard.

A school photo of Alora.

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3. An Amber Alert was issued for her capture

Since Alora was seen with suspected murderers, an Amber Alert was issued shortly after her disappearance. Amber Alerts are typically issued after confirmed abductions, and when the child is at risk of serious bodily injury or death. In her Amber Alert, Alora is described as a 15-year-old Hispanic female with brown hair and brown eyes. She is 5’2” and weighs 100 pounds. Her clothing description is unknown.

According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, there were 424,066 reports of missing children made to law enforcement in 2018. Of the 23,500 runaways reported to the organization that year, one in seven were likely victims of child sex trafficking. Alora’s disappearance falls under a family abduction, which accounts for four percent of missing children cases. Less than one percent of cases are nonfamily abductions. NCMEC reported that 941 children have been recovered through the Amber alert program.

 

A post shared by Fugitive Watch (@fugitivewatch) on Apr 18, 2019 at 9:32am PDT

Information about Alora and her abduction.

4. The car she got in was found near the Mexican border

The car Cerratos and Mercado used to pick up Alora was a 2013 white 4-door BMW sedan. It had Nevada vanity plates that read “MIRAMAR.” Police believed that the couple and Alora were headed to Nevada—Nevada residents also received an Amber Alert on April 18th. The car was found, however, on April 19th. It had been abandoned in San Ysidro. San Ysidro is south of San Diego, and is on the Mexican border. It is north of Tijuana.

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Alora Benitez, Roman Cerratos and Maricela Mercado.

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5. Her father begged that her captors let her go

“For Roman or Mari, if you guys are listening,” he told CBS Los Angeles during a vigil for his daughter on Sunday, “do the right thing, turn Alora over,” Benitez said. “This is your guys’ mess. Not hers.” Julian Benitez Jr. described Alora as “my air and my life.” “I just need her back. I need her back in my arms.” Not only did Julian petition her captors, he also pled his daughter to make an attempt to get out. "Alora, if you’re listening, if you see any of this: Make a run for it. Call 911. Get to a phone. Ask for help. Go where there’s a lot of people.”

 

A post shared by Millie Delgado (@milliedelgadonews) on Apr 21, 2019 at 5:48pm PDT


Alison Cerri is a writer who covers astrology, pop culture and relationship topics.