Amberly Mendoza was 10 years old when she was murdered. Her body was found inside the bedroom of her home in Yuma, Arizona, more than 20 years ago, and the person responsible for her death has yeat to be brought to justice.
On March 9, 1996, law enforcement officers with the Yuma Police Department were dispatched to a home in the 17000 block of 24th Lane, after receiving a 911 call about an unresponsive child.
Upon arrival, officers found Amberly Mendoza, a fourth-grade student at Valley Horizon Elementary School, dead in her bedroom.
Her mother stated that at around 11 a.m., she called out to her daughter, but she didn’t get a response, leading her to believe that she wasn’t in the home, according to KYMA-TV.
She surmised that Amberly had gone rollerblading in the neighborhood, as it was something she loved to do.
When she went outside and called out to her, there was no response. She then went back inside her home and looked in Amberly’s bedroom, which is where she found her body.
An autopsy revealed that Amberly was sexually assaulted before she was suffocated to death with a pillow between the hours of 11:30 p.m. on Mar. 8, 1996, and 10:45 a.m. on March 9, 1996 — around the time the family reportedly had a gathering at the home.
Arizona Republic reported that the killer could have entered Amberly’s bedroom through a window, as her mother stated that “her daughters climbed in and out their bedroom window, which faced the street and that friends could climb in, though the window was supposed to be kept locked.”
Following an investigation, the Yuma police uncovered that there was no sign of forced entry, and the DNA evidence collected from Amberly Mendoza’s body indicated that the killer was not a family member.
Sgt. Lori Franklin with the Yuma Police Department said, “There have been several people interviewed, a lot of people have been interviewed reference this, but nothing to the point where any charges could have been filed.”
Amberly was described as a shy girl who loved eating pizza, rollerblading, and drawing pictures. Her mother stated that she was the type of child who always made time for her family and friends.
However, she had a fervent for shoes.
The victim’s mother told The Yuma Daily Sun that “she always tried to convince me to let her wear my high heels when we would go to the park or anywhere else.”
Amberly always tried her best at everything, she said. She claimed that she made a deal with her that if she read 10 books, she would let her watch “Pocahontas.”
Although she didn’t get to read all 10 books, her mother said she let her watch the movie anyway, which was the night before she was found dead in her bedroom.
She added that she’s hoping other parents would learn from Amberly Mendoza’s death. “Always pay attention to your children. Everyone really needs to be really careful with their children and always love them as much as possible.”
Anyone with information regarding the unsolved murder of Amberly Mendoza is encouraged to contact the Yuma Police Department at (928) 373-4700.
To remain anonymous, call 78-CRIME, which is a “community program designed to bring law enforcement, the news media, and citizens together to combat crime and make our community a safer place to live.”
They can be reached at (928) 782-7463.