MILLERSVILLE, Md. - Anne Arundel County police remain quiet about several arrests made for three gang-related murders that was announced last week.
However, court documents obtained by FOX 5 outline a brutal killing of what is believed to be one of those victims – a former Annapolis High School student. Five people are now facing charges in her death.
Investigators say they are caught between informing the public and protecting a very sensitive investigation, and still cannot say much about the gang-related murders because they say it would put others in danger.
“We are hopeful that in the next several weeks we will get some more closure and be able to provide very specific information about these cases,” said Anne Arundel County police spokesperson Marc Limansky.
Left behind wooden pallets now mark the spot where investigators drove into the woods off Chesterfield Road in Crownsville at the end of September. They found the body of 21-year-old Jenni Rivera Lopez in a secret grave. She was reported missing back in June.
Charging documents show four men and one woman have been charged with first- and second-degree murder. Their ages range from 18 to 25.
Court documents show an unnamed source told police Rivera Lopez was picked up on June 24 for an arranged meeting, but it was just a "ruse to abduct and murder her.” She was then driven to a wooded area in Crownsville where she was beaten to death and later buried.
“If you are in fear, if you think a gang wants to hurt you, I’m begging you to come and talk to us,” said Anne Arundel County Police Chief Timothy Altomare last week.
On Friday, Altomare made a plea to the public for information after announcing multiple people were arrested in connection to the three gang-related murders. But they continue to not elaborate on who the victims are, where or when their bodies were found, the names of the suspects or what violent gang they are associated with.
“What we want people to know is that the police are here to help them,” said Limansky. “If they live in a community where they are in fear of gangs or gang activity or their family is affected, we want them to come forward or call our tip line. You can remain anonymous … We will never question your immigration status if you come forward. I know a lot of people are afraid to go to the police. Perhaps in the countries where they come from, there is an issue with police departments there not being trustworthy. That is not the case here.”
FOX 5 has reached out to U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement regarding the immigration statuses of the five suspects charged in the Rivera Lopez murder, but we not received a response as of Wednesday evening.
Anne Arundel County has set up a new gang task force with help from the FBI. If you have any information, you are urged to call them at 410-222-8610.