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Phoenix police arrest 2, searching for 1 after teen girl was shot, killed inside car

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Posted at 4:21 PM, Jul 19, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-21 07:46:21-04

PHOENIX — Officials have arrested two suspects, and are searching for a third person involved in the deadly shooting of 17-year-old Itzel Espinoza in early July.

Phoenix police say the teen girl was found shot and killed inside a vehicle early morning July 3.

"My baby girl, you know," says Eduardo Espinoza, Itzel's father.

Although Itzel Espinoza was 17 years old, her father Eduardo always saw her as his baby girl. He says she lived for the spotlight - a princess in every way. He never imagined the last talk they had would be their last. Itzel told him she needed some emotional support.

"I was like, what kind of emotional support? Your friends are here, the people who care for you are here," says Espinoza.

Itzel never came home that night. Her father called police in the morning after not being able to get a hold of her.

"I was thinking maybe something else... a DUI or something, you know. But this, no," says Espinoza.

He later learned of the tragedy - that his girl had been shot and killed inside her car, in an alley, near Southern and 35th Avenue. Three weeks later, he is getting some answers.

Detectives say they have developed probable cause to make an arrest on three people suspected of being involved in the homicide.

Officers say they located Jesus J. Valle Padilla, 19, July 16 at around 1:45 p.m. near 24th Street and US60 for facilitation of murder.

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"The crazy thing about that individual... it was like my daughter, she posted him on social media a week before this saying: 'that's my brother.' Are you serious? She said: 'that's my brother,'" says Espinoza.

Eduardo can't believe someone she was close to would want to cause her harm.

A 16-year-old boy has also been arrested and booked into the Durango Juvenile Detention Center.

The third suspect who allegedly pulled the trigger, is currently outstanding and has been identified as 18-year-old Lindsey B. Aguilar.

"Even though they don't have her in custody yet, they will eventually because you cannot go and hide forever," says Espinoza.

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Itzel's father says he will never fully find peace, especially not knowing what happened that night.

"The whole justice process, it will come eventually, you know and they'll pay for it eventually. That's something we will have to worry about later but she's not here, she's gone," says Espinoza.

Eduardo will always have her close to his heart, honoring her every way he can.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Phoenix Police Department or Silent witness at 480-WITNESS.