A woman who went missing Friday night was found dead in her car in the parking lot of St. Stanislaus Catholic Church on Maze Boulevard in Modesto on Saturday afternoon, her family confirmed.
In an Instagram post Saturday, Yaresli Lopez of Ceres wrote that her mother, Erika Lopez, called her Friday at 7:46 p.m. to say she would arrive home in about 30 minutes. “Two hours passed and my mother never came home,” the post reads. “Me and my dad went all throughout I-5 looking for her but there was no sign.”
Saturday about 3 p.m., Modesto police responded to a report of a possibly deceased person in a car on the 1200 block of Maze Boulevard. The area around a black Honda sedan sitting in the church parking lot was taped off, and a police watch commander confirmed a person had been found dead inside the car.
The car matches the description of Erika Lopez’s, but as of Sunday morning, police have yet to confirm it was hers or that she was the person found. But Yaresli Lopez told The Bee by text, “It is my mother.”
Asked if there was anything more she could share on the investigation or her mother, she added, “The only thing I am going to say is the Ceres Police Department did not do their job and the Modesto Police Department was absolutely no help.” As of Sunday, Modesto police had not publicly stated Lopez’s death is being investigated as homicide.
In her Instagram post, Yaresli Lopez names a man she alleges “has come to our home multiple times trying to break in and threatening my mother and has continued to park a block away from our house.” She says her family previously had contacted Ceres police about the man “and they did not take any action. And now my mother is missing.”
A gofundme page, titled “In The Loving Memory of Erika Lopez,” has been set up to help the Lopez family with funeral and other expenses.
The creator of the page, Yeileen Espinoza, identifies herself as a family member and writes that relatives “took it upon themselves to search for her where Erika’s phone was last at and sadly her vehicle was found at St. Stanislaus Catholic Church in Modesto, CA where her body was also found.”
On the fundraising page, Espinoza calles Lopez “an amazing, kind, and caring human being. She was someone’s daughter, sister, mother, cousin, friend, and more. She meant a great amount to a lot of different people. Erika nor her family deserved any of this. She deserves justice. ...”
Anyone with information on Lopez’s death is asked to contact Stanislaus Area Crime Stoppers at 209-521-4636. Callers can remain anonymous and may be eligible for a cash reward. Tips also can be submitted via www.stancrimetips.org.
This is a developing story and will be updated as new information is available.