Friends and family of a mother and daughter found dead in their Monrovia apartment last week mourned the victims at a vigil Wednesday as authorities continue to search for their suspected killer.
Hundreds of people gathered outside the Monrovia Public Library to remember Cecilia Meza, 41, and her 17-year-old daughter, Kelsey Meza, a week after the grisly discovery last Wednesday in their home on 800 block of West Colorado Boulevard.
Their bodies were found after someone who knew them contacted authorities out of concern for their welfare. They hadn't been seen since the previous Sunday, and Kelsey, a senior at Monrovia High School, hadn't gone to class all week, a family friend previously told KTLA.
Coroner's officials have since determined that Cecilia was strangled to death, while Kelsey died from both strangulation and "blunt head trauma."
Cecilia's live-in boyfriend, 33-year-old Nimrod Perez Guerrero, was named as a suspect in the double homicide the same day the bodies were found.
But authorities have been unable to locate him and said he was last known to be traveling in a gray 2014 Toyota RAV4 with California license plate No. 7FPB132. He should be considered armed and dangerous, officials said.
Jario Prieto, Cecilia's son and Kelsey's brother, thanked the community for its support and law enforcement for its work in tracking down Guerrero.
Prieto described his loved ones as "women of faith."
"I want everybody to know that our family's OK because we know that we're going to see them again," he told the mourners assembled Wednesday night.
Many of Kelsey's friends were in attendance, expressing grief for a promising life cut short. The high school senior was a great student and had big plans for the future, her friend Brenda Zaragoza said.
"She had her heart set on college and it's just really sad she didn't get—" Zaragoza began, but was tearing up and unable to finish her sentence.
Still, Zaragoza said, "I know she's in a better place. I know that she will forever be with me in my heart."
Another friend of the teen's, Vidal Bentancourt, joined in pleas for the alleged killer to be found.
"I hope they get him," Bentancourt said. "She just needs justice, that's all I want for my friend. Her mom, I didn't know her that well, but if she made an amazing girl like Kelsey then she must be pretty amazing too."
A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to raise money for the victim's funeral costs.