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Three Men Charged With Kidnapping And Murdering 15-Year-Old Girl In 2002

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In the twelve-year old case of a East Los Angeles teenager that was kidnapped, raped, and murdered, prosecutors have charged three more people with the crime.Brenda Sierra was brutally murdered in October of 2002—when she was 15—to intimidate her brother from testifying in court, according to investigators. The day after she disappeared, her body was found up in the San Bernardino Mountains. In March of this year, Rosemary Chavira, who was also 15 at the time of Sierra's kidnapping, was arrested and hit with charges related to the murder and kidnapping. On Thursday, prosecutors announced they've charged three men in the case.

City News Service identifies the three new defendants as 30-year old Eddie Chavira, 35-year old Daniel Cervantes, and 35-year old George Barraza. Eddie Chavira, Rosemary's brother, is already in jail on an unrelated manslaughter conviction, and Barraza is currently a fugitive. If convicted, all four defendants face up to life in prison, and prosecutors and still could later seek the death penalty for Cervantes and Barraza.

Authorities say Eddie Chavira was involved in a shooting Sierra's brother had witnessed weeks before her disappearance, but had been taken into custody by the time she disappeared. Prosecutors say Sierra was murdered to silence her brother, and that Chavira asked fellow gang members—presumably Cervantes and Barraza—and his own sister to "take care" of witnesses.