15-year-old missing girl may be with Los Angeles-area murder suspects

Posted at 10:33 AM, Apr 18, 2019
and last updated 2019-04-18 13:33:08-04

LOS ANGELES (CNS) - Authorities asked for the public's help Thursday locating a 15-year-old girl who was last seen with her mother and a man, who are both suspects in the killing of a man whose body was found in the front seat of a car in Carson.

Alora Benitez was last seen at 9 a.m. Wednesday in Torrance leaving with Maricela Mercado, 40, and Roman Cerratos, 39, in a white, 2013 4-door BMW sedan, with Nevada license plate ``MARIMAR,'' according to the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department. The plate may have been removed and replaced with an unknown paper plate. Their direction of travel was unknown.

Benitez is Hispanic, 5 feet 2 and weighs 100 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. It was unknown what she was last wearing, the LASD said.

Mercado is 5 feet 3 and weighs 130 pounds, with brown hair and brown eyes. Cerratos is 6 feet 1 and weighs 210 pounds, bald with brown eyes. Both are considered armed and dangerous, the sheriff's department said.

Cerratos and Mercado are suspects in the killing of a man who was found dead Tuesday in the front seat of a white Audi parked in the 400 block of East Carson Plaza Drive, the sheriff's department said.

Anyone who spots Benitez, Cerratos or Mercado or the vehicle they are believed to be riding in was asked to call 911 immediately.

Anyone with information on the suspects' whereabouts was asked to call sheriff's Homicide Detectives Lawler or Blagg at (323) 890-5500 or Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.

An Amber Alert was originally issued for Benitez, but that was called off after the California Highway Patrol determined she was not in imminent danger.