Two men have been arrested on suspicion of murder in connection with the death of a UCLA student whose body was found inside a burning apartment a week ago, Los Angeles police said Monday.
Detectives with the LAPD’s Robbery-Homicide Division used forensic evidence and witnesses’ statements to link Eric Marquez and Alberto Medina, both 22, to Andrea DelVesco’s death, the LAPD said in a statement.
Medina was arrested Saturday at his home in Fresno, the LAPD said. Marquez was arrested a day later near his apartment in Westwood.
DelVesco’s body was found Sept. 21 by firefighters as they searched a smoke-filled apartment in the 10900 block of Roebling Avenue, about a block away from the Westwood campus. The 21-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene.
The LAPD has remained tight-lipped about its investigation, even as reports surfaced that DelVesco may have been killed before the fire began. Detectives canvassed the neighborhood with fliers last week, asking the public for help.
Coroner’s officials have not released information about their investigation into DelVesco’s death, citing a security hold the LAPD placed on the case.
DelVesco, a native of Austin, Texas, was a fourth-year psychology major, UCLA said Monday. Earlier, her sorority sisters identified her as a member of Pi Beta Phi.
“Andy had a contagious spirit and was a fearless giver,” Pi Beta Phi Chapter President Jacquie Medeiros said. “Andy was a friend to every person she met. She was always inclusive and there for everyone. More than anything, Andy wanted us to be ourselves … and most of all to never ever give up.”
Court records showed DelVesco was arrested and charged this summer with drug possession. She pleaded not guilty to the charges and was scheduled to appear in court last week, the district attorney’s office said.
The LAPD did not say whether DelVesco knew Marquez or Medina. Marquez was studying biology at UCLA, the university said Monday. Medina was not affiliated with the school.
Detectives were not looking for any other suspects in connection with DelVesco’s death as of Monday evening, LAPD Cmdr. Andrew Smith said.
When reached by phone Monday evening, Medina’s father said his son had a court hearing scheduled for Tuesday morning. Jose Medina said he spoke with his son Monday, but declined to comment further, citing the pending court date.
“He told me that he didn’t do it,” he said.
Marquez’s mother and brother said the 22-year-old had come home for a visit Saturday. The family went to a movie together, they said. Marquez acted happy, as if nothing was wrong.
Marquez’s mother said her son was a hardworking student who wanted to become a doctor.
“He’s a perfect son, a perfect person,” Marquez’s mother said in Spanish, her younger son translating. “A perfect boy.”
Marquez’s mother said she did not believe the allegations against her son were true, but declined to elaborate. Marquez hadn’t mentioned the girl or the fire, his brother said.
“My mom can’t comprehend or understand why he was picked,” Marquez’s brother said. “He’s a good kid.”
Times staff writer Veronica Rocha contributed to this report.