Cathy Torrez was a 20-year-old honors student at Cal State Fullerton and a part-time worker at a Sav-On drugstore in Placentia, California. On February 12, 1994, she told her co-workers that she was going to see her boyfriend Samuel Lopez that night. Their relationship was a rocky one. She had said no to his marriage proposal just one week prior. That night, she disappeared.
Samuel Lopez and his cousin Xavier Lopez met with Cathy at a Baskin Robbins and then drove somewhere else. They argued. And then Samuel attacked Torrez with a knife. He stabbed her repeatedly in the face, head and torso. He locked her in the trunk of her car which was found a week later in the parking lot of a hospital. It has taken 21 years for the Torrez family to see justice done. Samuel Lopez was found guilty in her murder in March 2015. He faces a maximum of 26 years to life. (Xavier Lopez was charged with one felony count of special circumstances murder involving the infliction of torture.) Samuel Lopez will be sentenced on May 1, 2015. Dateline NBC will investigate Cathy Torrez’s murder on April 24 at 9pm.