UCLA Student Found Dead In Fire Was Facing Drug Charges
The UCLA student whose body was found following a fire in her Westwood apartment was facing drug possession charges, police say.
Andrea 'Andy' DelVesco was arrested on June 10 in Westwood on four counts of drug possession, which included Ecstasy, LSD, methamphetamine and Psilocybin (hallucinogenic mushrooms), according to Los Angeles Superior Court records, reports NBC LA. DelVesco, who was set to appear in Airport Court this Friday to set a date for a preliminary hearing, had pled not guilty, and was allowed to remain free on her own recognizance.
The death of DelVesco is being investigated as a homicide, and LAPD Detective Lauren Rauch confirmed with NBC LA that they believe the fire was set deliberately. Police also said that the drug charges were certainly an important factor to be considered in the police investigation.
As former Chicago Police Officer and private investigator Paul Huebl explained to NBC LA, it's likely that the drug suppliers higher up in the chain of distribution feared she would identify them when in court. "The motive is simply this: if she is silenced, she cannot testify against anyone else and put them in prison for more serious charges," Huebl said.
LAPD Chief Charlie Beck said they are seeking a person of interest who was seen running from the apartment on Roebling Avenue, but have yet to name a motive or comment on DelVesco's drug charges.
DelVesco's defense attorney, Jeremy Lessem, was shocked at news of her death and told NBC LA that she was handling the case well and "was a very bright young woman" with a "promising future." According to NBC LA, DelVesco had spent the summer doing clerical work in a Brentwood law firm and working at Jamba Juice in the UCLA student union.
In a statement issued by DelVesco's sorority, Pi Beta Phi, UCLA Chapter President Jacquie Medeiros said, "Andy had a contagious spirit and was a fearless giver....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.”