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Ex-boyfriend is sought for questioning in fatal stabbing of 16-year-old girl

Los Angeles County sheriff's officials released these photos of Rory Murga, identified as a person of interest in the stabbing death of a 16-year-old Pico Rivera girl. Murga is now in custody.
(Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department)

A Pico Rivera mother awoke to the screams of her daughter early Friday and watched in horror as the 16-year-old staggered into her bedroom after being stabbed.

Before the teen collapsed and died, however, Elena Moore — known to friends as “Lily” — managed to speak with her mother, according to authorities.

Based on the girl’s dying words, homicide detectives are now looking to question Moore’s ex-boyfriend, 17-year-old Rory Murga, to determine whether he was involved in the attack, according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Murga is a person of interest and detectives are seeking the public’s assistance in locating him for questioning.

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Deputies were called to the home in the 9800 block of Shade Lane about 3:15 a.m. for a report of an assault with a deadly weapon.

They arrived to find Moore suffering what would be fatal injuries; she later was pronounced dead at the scene.

“They assume that it’s going to be an ex-boyfriend who she had broken up with two weeks prior,” Deputy Grace Medrano said.

Moore and the ex-boyfriend had been together a year.

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Moore was downstairs in her home when a suspect entered the residence through the back door, the sheriff’s department said. She was stabbed and then ran upstairs to her mother’s bedroom.

It is unknown whether the suspect was allowed into the residence by Moore, or if he forced his way in.

Dozens of friends gathered Friday evening to light candles at a makeshift shrine down the street from Moore’s home. Friends remembered the teenager as a gregarious, happy-go-lucky girl who liked listening to metal music and playing video games.

“She was pretty happy. She always tried to keep positive,” said Jonathan Archouletta, 18, a friend who met Moore at El Rancho High School three years ago.

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But she also had a rebellious streak. A cousin, Denver Esparza, 17, who also lives in the neighborhood, said Moore had stopped going to school after her freshman year at El Rancho.

“I think she was heading down the wrong path, but she was a really nice person,” he said. “She was open to new things, trying new stuff. She never put anyone down.”

Esparza said a friend knocked on his door Friday morning to tell him a lot of police were in front of a house nearby and that a 16-year-old girl had been killed.

“Right then, my heart just dropped, and all I could think about was, please don’t let it be Lily,” he said. He rushed to her house, where he learned from a reporter that she had been stabbed.

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It remains unclear what the motive for the killing was.

Esparza said Moore and Murga had seemed happy together. A neighbor, David Arias, 60, said when he saw the young couple on the street, “They seemed pretty mellow, pretty happy.”

Archouletta had less kind words for Murga: “I don’t know how the relationship was, but I know I didn’t like him. I never did.”

Anyone with information regarding Murga’s location or has other knowledge that could help the investigation is asked to contact the Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500.

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brittny.mejia@latimes.com

abby.sewell@latimes.com

For more California news, follow @brittny_mejia and @sewella.

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UPDATES:

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8 p.m.: This article has been updated with new details and additional quotes from friends and neighbors.

2:55 p.m.: This article has been updated with details on a person of interest.

11 a.m.: This article has been updated with additional details.

8:37 a.m.: This article has been updated with the name of the victim.

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7:52 a.m.: This article has been updated with additional details.

This article was originally published at 6:05 a.m.


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