Dying Woman Uses Her Last Breath To Identify Her Attackers

“This young woman clung to life when she was left for dead and was able to live for another couple hours and get us that information,” an official said.



A woman named Lizette Cuesta dragged herself 100 yards to the side of a road in Alameda County, California, before she was found by four UPS delivery workers. She was bleeding profusely from the multiple stab wounds but managed to give information about her attackers before she died.

According to authorities, the 19-year-old was stabbed and thrown out of a car near a hilly road north of San Jose. The attackers apparently did not expect her to survive and identify them.   

But she did.

The young woman lived for two more hours after she was found and taken to a trauma centre before she succumbed to the injuries.

“Her internal fortitude, to stay alive and to fight, is pretty remarkable,” Alameda County Sheriff's Office Sergeant Ray Kelly told The San Francisco Chronicle.

“This young woman clung to life when she was left for dead and was able to live for another couple hours and get us that information. Ultimately that led us to these arrests.”



“I've been around a long time, and I can only think of two to three times that I'm aware of in our agency that we've been able to get a dying declaration like that,” Kelly added.


The officials revealed Cuesta used all her strength to tell them she knew the attackers before she willingly got into the car with them. 

Alameda County Sheriff was able to locate the suspects Cuesta had used her last breath to identify. 

“We were able to act on the information from our victim,” Kelly confirmed.


Police arrested 19-year-old Daniel Gross and 25-year-old Melissa Leonardo from their home in Modesto. The couple made their first appearance in court on Wednesday – just two days after the brave girl identified them for stabbing her several times, tying her up and leaving her body on Tesla Road outside Livermore.


As the KTVU reported, Gross admitted he “snapped” but did not plan to kill Cuesta.

Gross said he and his fiancé, Leonardo, knew Cuesta as they all worked together at a fast food restaurant in Tracy. He also said they smoked marijuana that day and he had sex with the teen in the back seat of the car his fiancé was driving.

The attacker said he tied her with yellow rope, which was later found at the crime scene, with her consent. 

He also claimed she had a knife on her, which he had given her because he “protects her.”

According to him, Cuesta elbowed him in the ribs and he had to act in self-defense but never planned on killing her.

Gross said Leonardo had nothing to do with everything that happened and admitted he was responsible for all of it. 

The suspects are to appear in Alameda County Superior Court on Feb. 15.


Thumbnail/ Banner Credit: Alameda County Sheriff's Office

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