Police: Decomposed Body Is Missing Calif. Teen

"Authorities identified a decomposed body Wednesday as that of a 17-year-old girl who was likely kidnapped while walking home from school last week in Southern California. An autopsy confirmed the identity of Norma Lopez, but investigators would not release a cause of death. ""I don't want to believe it's her,"" family friend Melanie Villarreal, 18, told The Associated Press. ""We know she's in a better place."" Lopez vanished July 15 on her way home from a summer school class at Valley View High School in Moreno Valley, about 60 miles east of Los Angeles. Two other teenage girls were found slain this year after being abducted in Southern California. John Albert Gardner, 31, a registered sex offender, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for killing 17-year-old Chelsea King and 14-year-old Amber Dubois. King vanished while running at a San Diego park in February, and Dubois was kidnapped while walking to school last year. Gardner led authorities to the remains of Dubois after his arrest in the King case."