Cold Case: Mary Helen Moya Murder 1987. 25 Years Unsolved

(article reposted from 2010)

SAN DIEGO, Calif. (CBS 8 ) – The News 8 Crimefighters are helping police with a cold case murder that happened 23 years ago.(edit: Now 25 years)

The victim was a mother of three found shot to death near the border. The killer has never been found.

“She was always fun, happy going. We’d go to the beach and have fun together. Go to the movies. She was your best friend,” said her son George Moya of Phoenix, Arizona.

It’s been more than two decades since police found the body of 40-year-old Mary Helen Moya off a dark section of Heritage Road near Otay Mesa Road.

The date was July 20, 1987. Her son George – age 12 at the time – is still waiting for justice.

“Somebody killed her in cold blood,” Moya said. “They shot her to death and left her out there to die.”

Mary Moya’s autopsy report describes four gunshot wounds to her head and neck, apparently delivered by a high-power rifle. The victim also suffered defensive wounds to her arm and forearm as she tried to block the gunman’s aim.

The Mira Mesa woman spent the weekend before her death in Rosarito Beach, Mexico with college classmates.

Somehow Moya ended up dead on this side of the border in a deserted area, now surrounded by junk yards and warehouses.

George Moya recalls how he found out his mother was dead.

“Three detectives from the San Diego police department knocked on the door,” Moya said. “All I remember is my grandmother screaming and my uncle ran over there and said, ‘What’s the matter’. He came back and told me they found your mom dead.”

News 8 interviewed Moya’s parents in 1987. The victim had telephoned her mother to say she was returning home.  Moya’s body was found with no purse or identification.

“Over the years, you think a detective will call and give you an update. Nothing. I’ve never heard (anything),” Moya told News 8 in a telephone interview. “And I’ve looked on the internet for cold case files. You don’t see (anything) about my mom.”

The San Diego police cold case team is now taking another look at the murder. Officers are preparing information and photos to post online.

“Twenty-three years is a long time to be without a mom, a grandmother, a sister. It’s hard,” said Moya. “I’m speaking for all my family and it’s been very hard for all of us.”

San Diego CrimeStoppers is offering a one thousand dollar reward for information leading to a conviction in this cold case murder. If you have any information call (888) 580-8477.

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