Family continues to call for justice in Mercedes Vega’s death

Bianca Buono
8 Min Read

It’s been nearly a year since Mercedes Vega was taken from her Tempe complex. Her body was found in a burning car 100 miles away. No arrests have been made.

PHOENIX — The Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office says Mercedes Vega’s murder investigation is being handled by multiple agencies, including local and federal agencies. 

It’s been eleven months since 22-year-old Vega was abducted from her Tempe apartment complex. Hours, later, her body was found in the backseat of a burning car next to the I-10 freeway near Tonopah, about a hundred miles from her apartment.

Despite the horrific nature of her death, no arrests have been made, making her tragic death even harder to process for her parents.

“The people that killed my little girl are still out there,” said Erika Pillsbury, Mercedes’ mother in a recent TikTok video. “You can be the person that brings justice to Mercedes. She didn’t deserve to die.”

“No family should go through what my daughter went through.”

On the night of April 16, around 9:15 p.m., surveillance footage shows Vega walking to her car at her Tempe apartment complex. She was heading out to meet friends and it was the last look at her before she was taken.

Her parents said just seconds later, Vega was attacked.

“She was hit over the head and there was tissue and blood in the parking garage. We don’t know if she was put in her own vehicle or a different vehicle,” Erika Pillsbury said.

What happened next is still unknown.

But at 1 a.m. there was a shocking discovery. Vega’s car was found abandoned and parked illegally not far from Mill Avenue. A burning car was seen on the I-10 freeway just west of Tonopah. Her body was found in the backseat.

According to the medical examiner’s report, smoke inhalation was a cause of death.

But the report also reveals the type of evil Vega faced before she died.

She had bleach in her throat. She was shot in the arm. She had blunt-force trauma to her head.

“She was tortured. Whether it’s because she knew something, or something along those lines, or she was about to expose somebody, I don’t know that,” Tom Pillsbury said. “But these people actually tortured my daughter. I do believe that she was targeted. Because of the nature of the crime.”

Vega’s car was found parked illegally not far from Mill Avenue.

“We don’t know who did this,” said Tom Pillsbury, Mercedes’ father. “We know that her vehicle was found in that area. So that means either they lived in that area, or they parked a car in that area, or they were frequent people of that area. And do they still hang out in that area?”

Vega’s parents cannot understand how no arrests have been made. They say despite asking for updates on a regular basis, they’ve been given little to no information about their daughter’s case.

“Do I feel the case is progressing? Yes. I do feel it’s progressing, but I don’t feel it’s progressing as fast as it should. I don’t feel that they asked the public for help,” Tom Pillsbury said. “To me, it shows that my daughter is not a priority.”

MCSO remains the lead investigating agency on the case.

“I’m not getting my daughter back. I’ve accepted that. I have my daughter in my house in her urn. And I’m gonna get to spread her ashes in May, what she wished for. At least I have that. But no family should go through what my daughter went through,” Tom Pillsbury said.

Erika Pillsbury recently shared her daughter’s story on social media. The video she posted to TikTok has garnered hundreds of thousands of views and comments from concerned Valley residents.

“I don’t want any other mom to feel what I feel at all, ever again,” Erika Pillsbury said.

She is urging businesses and residents in the Tempe area to go back through security camera footage to see if they can access video from the night of April 16. She’s asking them to look for any sign of Vega or her car, a white Dodge Charger.

“My daughter is not going to die in vain. We’re not going to let it go away,” The Pillsburys said.

On April 17, the one year anniversary of Vega’s death, there will be a walk in her memory starting at Margaret T. Hance Park and ending at MCSO Headquarters. It will start at 4 p.m.

RELATED: ‘She was tortured’: Mercedes Vega was found dead with bleach in her throat. 7 months later, no arrests have been made.

Silent Witness is offering a reward for information in Vega’s death. If you have any information about what happened to her, contact them immediately by calling 480-WITNESS. You can remain anonymous. 

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Bianca Buono ,
KPNX Vivrr Local Feed: crime , 2024-03-23 06:38:08
Categories: true-crime,news,crime,valley,local,arizona,home

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