My mom's real upset over this.were going to the funeral on tuesday.Disposable cameras recorded the painful final hours of the life of a young east Bakersfield mother missing from her home since July 10, Kern County sheriff's reports revealed Tuesday.
A witness reportedly told investigators that Amanda Zubia, 17, was beaten over two days, burned with cigarettes and stuffed in a duffel bag in a car trunk before she died, possibly of suffocation.
Her alleged assailants took more than a dozen photographs of the victim as she was being beaten, according to documents filed in Kern County Superior Court.
Zubia's body was found Monday in a 55-gallon metal drum in a detached garage on Cypress Circle near East Bakersfield High School after neighbors complained of the stench.
Two women, including Zubia's cousin, and a 19-year-old man pleaded not guilty Tuesday to capital murder charges in her slaying. One suspect, Maricruz Galaviz, 26, remains at large.
Sgt. Mike Moore said Zubia's family was devastated when told of the news before the press conference.
"They've been in fear," Moore said. "I think they feared the worst in this case and hoped for the best."
The beatings occurred July 12 and 13, court reports stated.
Zubia had been missing since July 10 when she went to a home in the 1200 block of Bernard Street, deputies have said. It was in that home that police allegedly found the disposable camera that captured the final hours of the teenager.
Zubia was at the home at 2:30 a.m. July 11 when she called her mother, Blanca Stella Cantu. She asked Cantu to pick her up at the house because her friends were angry with her. Cantu declined to pick her up, and Zubia began to cry, according to the account Cantu gave detectives.
Cantu said Tuesday evening she believed Zubia was at Zubia's own home when she called asking for a ride. Cantu said she declined to take her from that home to a friend's house.
Cantu told detectives the only friend Zubia mentioned in the July 11 call was Zubia's cousin, Erika LaSalde, 18.
LaSalde, 32-year-old Antonia Heredia "Monkey" Salazar, and Robert Vallejo, 19, Salazar's cousin, were each charged Tuesday with murder and special circumstances of murder during a kidnapping, robbery, torture and gang activity. Salazar and Vallejo denied any knowledge of the beating or disappearance of Zubia, the reports said.
The special circumstances, if proved, can lead to the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole.
The three pleaded not guilty and were scheduled for further hearings Aug. 2 and 3. They remain in jail without bail.
The case charges Galaviz with the same crimes.
A sheriff's radio broadcast said Galaviz may be in a 1994 green Ford Taurus, California license plate 4JWG247. A witness said Zubia was put inside the car's trunk July 13.
That witness, a 17-year-old girl, said Salazar and Galaviz beat Zubia, chopped off chunks of her hair, burned her with cigarettes, gagged her, tied her up with electrical cord and spit in her face, the reports said.
But 15 photographs, developed from cameras seized in the Bernard Street home, also show LaSalde, Vallejo and the 17-year-old girl participating in the beatings, court documents state.
Sheriff's investigators said once the 17-year-old girl was shown the photographs, she acknowledged the involvement of herself and the others. She said she hit Zubia because Galaviz told her that Zubia had been flirting with the girl's boyfriend.
She said Vallejo was encouraging Galaviz during the beating "to do what they had to do," the reports said. The girl said Galaviz threatened to kill her if she told anyone.
At a news conference Tuesday, sheriff's officials said the district attorney's staff is reviewing reports on the 17-year-old girl, but no charges have been filed against her.
Sheriff's officials haven't identified a motive for the slaying. Reports said Zubia told her mother that her friends thought she helped Zubia's ex-boyfriend steal something. According to the reports, the 17-year-old girl said LaSalde and Galaviz blamed Zubia for stealing a few hundred dollars worth of drugs from them.
No gang is mentioned in the reports, but the witness quoted Salazar as saying, "I'm sorry, it's just part of the gang banging game."
During a beating, Galaviz was quoted as saying that Zubia brought "the gangster (expletive) out of me," the reports said.
The connection between the defendants and the Cypress Circle home where Zubia's body was found was not disclosed.
Zubia was first reported missing July 15.