LOS ANGELES – The Amber Alert search for 15-year-old Alora Benitez, who has been missing since April 18th, culminated in a rescue south of the San Diego border. Authorities had issued a $20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the murder suspects who had abducted Alora.
Her mother, Maricela Mercado, was arrested on Tuesday, July 23rd in the shooting death of Jeffrey Appel, who was shot on the 400 block of East Carson Plaza Dr. in Carson, on Tuesday, April 16th, 2019, at 06:30 a.m.
As the second wanted, armed-and-dangerous murder suspect, she joins suspect Roman Cerratos, who was earlier booked for murder by Homicide, extradited and taken into custody by the LASD.
The FBI and local law enforcement were instrumental in detaining Mercado and her daughter, Alora Benitez, in Chihuahua, Mexico. Both were deported from Mexico after they were found to have entered the country illegally. They were transported delivered to agents from the U.S. Customs and Border Protection at the Paso Del Norte port of entry.
As a result, they were arrested by officers from the El Paso Police Department on the warrant issued in L.A. for Appel’s murder. FBI Agents and FBI Victim/Witness Advocates took custody of Alora Benitez and will be returning her to California, to be reunited with her family. Mercado remains jailed in El Paso, Texas, pending extradition to California.
Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Homicide Bureau detectives continue their investigation into the shooting death of Jeffery Appel.