California Teen Identifies Suspected Killers Before Dying

The family of a Tracy woman who was stabbed to death spoke out Tuesday night after investigators in Alameda County released her identity earlier in the day. Lizette Cuesta, 19, was stabbed and left on a rural road near Livermore early Monday morning, CBS Sacramento reports. Her story grabbed national headlines after her deathbed testimony pointed investigators to her alleged killers.

“It just goes beyond words,” said Roberto Cuesta, Lizette’s uncle. “We love her, she will always be in our hearts and it’s really difficult.”

Two suspects were arrested Monday afternoon in Modesto: 19-year-old Daniel Gross and 25-year-old Melissa Leonardo. Investigators believe they knew the victim and targeted her for this vicious crime.

Originally from San Jose, Lizette had been living in Tracy with her father, Ray Cuesta. He last saw her on Sunday.

“I love her,” said Ray Cuesta, Lizette’s father. “She was always a fighter, she was always brave, strong, a leader. If she wanted to do something, she would get it done.”

Lizette clung to life for hours after her attack and just before she died, she told police who attacked her.

“I’m proud of her,” Ray said. “You know, she showed them that she didn’t give up, you know!”

“That goes a long way,” Roberto said. “Otherwise, we wouldn’t know what happened. There would be no closure.”

Neighbors say Gross and Leonardo lived on Nadine Avenue in South Modesto for three years.

“I would always see different people coming in and out of that house, so I knew it was probably something suspicious going on out there,” said Antonio Moya, who lives nearby.

Investigators believe Gross and Leonardo are in a relationship and that both of them knew the victim.

“On the night of this incident, Lisette got into the car, as they knew each other,” said Sgt. Ray Kelly, Alameda County Sheriff’s Department.

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