Suspect in California Teen's Death Released, Then Immediately Re-Arrested

Norma Lopez, 17, was abducted about a block from her school and killed.

Norma Lopez, 17, was abducted about a block from her school and killed.  (Riverside County Sheriff)

A man accused of kidnapping and murdering a schoolgirl in Moreno Valley, Calif., was released from custody then immediately re-arrested as authorities struggled to compile sufficient evidence to charge him.

Jesse Perez Torres was escorted out of a jail building then led back inside to be re-arrested after prosecutors failed to charge him within the required time frame, KTLA reported.

He was first arrested last Thursday in connection with the death of Norma Lopez, a 17-year-old schoolgirl who was abducted 15 months ago while walking home from school and later found dead in a field.

Lopez's murder shocked the community of Moreno Valley, about 50 miles east of Los Angeles. Police and the FBI received hundreds of tips and launched a wide-reaching investigation.

Authorities said Monday that the community could rest easy, even though Torres was not charged yet. "We are confident we have the suspect in custody," according to Capt. John Anderson, of the Riverside County sheriff's department. "He's not out on the streets, and I think the community can breathe a sigh of relief."

Residents described Torres as "creepy" and "weird."

"I never talked to him," neighbor Helen Silva, 26, told KTLA. "I never wanted to be around him." Torres would sometimes wander the neighborhood and stare at people, she added.

Silva said she believed Torres had a wife and two young sons.