WHITTIER, Calif. - The boyfriend of 19-year-old Andrea Vazquez, who was brutally kidnapped and murdered at Penn Park in Whittier on August 20, 2023, has spoken out for the first time about the horrifying ordeal.
Andrea's boyfriend, who wishes to remain anonymous, expressed the depth of his love for Andrea, describing every moment with her as a dream. However, the dream turned into a nightmare when a truck pulled up on that fateful night, opening fire on the young couple as they sat on the trunk of their car.
"I'm still trying to accept everything," he said.
Recounting the terrifying incident, he revealed that Andrea was shot in the head, and as he crouched closer to her, the assailant approached.
"He looked like he was on a mission… he really didn’t have a heart, you know," the boyfriend said, describing the gunman who had no emotion in his eyes.
Fearing for his life, he ran to seek help, leaving Andrea behind. When he returned Andrea was gone.
Andrea's family and boyfriend, desperate for help, contacted the local police department, providing them with Andrea's location through her phone. However, they say they were met with bureaucratic obstacles.
"They said, you have to go to Whittier police… I can’t even drive, I was shaking, I cannot drive," Andrea's mother, Ana Vazquez, shared.
Retired LAPD detective Moses Castillo questioned the response, emphasizing that the Downey police should have pursued the kidnapper even if it meant crossing jurisdictions.
"You get in that car, code three and on the way over there, you start communicating… notify CHP, let’s get an airship… to get on the same page," Castillo advised.
In response to the criticism, the Downey Police Department issued the following statement:
"The Downey community remains saddened by the tragic and senseless killing of 19-year-old Downey resident Andrea Vazquez. Our hearts go out to her family as they continue to grieve her loss.
The Downey Police Department became involved in the investigation on August 20, 2023 when contacted by the Whittier Police Department who was seeking assistance in contacting Andrea’s boyfriend, who had witnessed the initial assault of Andrea. Within less than ten minutes of receiving the call from Whittier Police Department, Downey officers were able to locate and contact Andrea’s boyfriend at her parent’s residence in Downey. Downey officers immediately began gathering information from her boyfriend and family members, relaying all information, including Andrea’s cell phone tracking data, to Whittier officers. Downey PD continued to work in collaboration with the Whittier Police Department in attempt to locate Andrea. The investigation continued around the clock; however, sadly Andrea’s body was later located in a field in Moreno Valley.
As the result of the multi-jurisdictional investigation, with Whittier Police Department as the lead agency, 20-year-old Gabriel Esparza was placed under arrest on August 21, 2023 and charged with murder, kidnapping and attempted rape."
"She didn’t deserve this at all… everyone knew she was a good person," lamented Edlyn Vazquez, Andrea’s sister.
Andrea's boyfriend concluded, "I will always love her and miss her a lot every day."