Around 7:00 a.m. the morning of October 18, 2002, 15-year-old Brenda Sierra set out to walk to her friend’s house so she could catch a ride to school from her friend’s mother. Her friend is quoted in news accounts saying that Brenda always arrived at her home between 7:15 and 7:20 a.m., but Brenda never arrived that morning. Apparently the school did not contact Brenda’s parents to let them know she was absent that day.
Brenda’s family members knew that she had a hair appointment scheduled after school that day so they did not become concerned when she did not arrive home. They began to become concerned at approximately 6:00 p.m. They contacted the hair salon and found that Brenda never arrived for her appointment. They contacted Brenda’s friend and that is when they learned that Brenda had never made it to her friend’s home for the regular ride to school.
They immediately called police but it took deputies three hours to come to their home and take the report. Even at that point officers told her family that it was not uncommon for 15-year-olds to disappear and then come back home soon; they considered her a runaway. Officers explained to the distraught the family that they could not issue an Amber Alert because they did not have a vehicle description and they did not have evidence that Brenda had in fact been kidnapped. Members of Brenda’s family printed out over a thousand fliers and distributed them in the area of the school as well as in the local area. Her disappearance received very little media coverage until her body was discovered 2 days later.
Brenda’s body was discovered underneath a tree by people taking a walk in the San Bernardino, California Mountains in an area known as Land of Enchantment. I mapped the distance from the city of Montebello, California to the Land of Enchantment using MapQuest. The drive is one hour and eleven minutes. If Brenda was kidnapped and later murdered at the mountain location she most likely had a terrible last hour of her life. If she was murdered close to where she was abducted then her murderer went to great lengths to hide her body.
The autopsy revealed that Brenda died from blunt force trauma to her head. Other details of her murder are being kept quiet to preserve the integrity of the investigation.
Because the alleged abduction took place in an area other than where the body was recovered two law enforcement jurisdictions are investigating Brenda’s murder; the San Bernardino Sheriff’s Department and the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.
The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is offering a $150,000 Reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of her killer.