California 19-year-old’s last words lead authorities to murder suspects

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LIVERMORE, Calif. — Officials have identified two people that were arrested Monday in the brutal stabbing death of 19-year-old Lizette Cuesta in Livermore, California.

Daniel Gross and Melissa Leonardo, both of Modesto, are suspected of stabbing Cuesta several times and leaving her body on Tesla Road in Livermore.

Cuesta was flown to a nearby hospital, where she died. Investigators say Cuesta used her final words to identify her killers.

“This victim really tried to survive, and she fought and she fought,” said Sgt. Ray Kelly with the Alameda County Sheriff’s Office. “The last thing, we believe, that she was able to do was to point us in the direction of the people that killed her. And that’s pretty remarkable.”

Richard Loadholt was carpooling to work with three other friends for an early shift at UPS when they found Cuesta. He told KTXL the young woman was in such bad shape he couldn’t make out the color of her hair.

“She laid down for almost three minutes at one period, and we told her to get up. She knew she had to get up and I commend that,” he said.

Friend Alex Yanez tells KTXL that Cuesta was a very positive woman and a determined skateboarder.

“Guys would fall just as hard and not get back up the rest of the day. She would fall and get right back up and try it,” Yanez said. “If she wanted that trick bad enough she would get it.”