Four women were arrested for kidnapping an Arizona woman who was found dead several weeks ago, according to authorities.
Melissa Valenzuela, 34, was found dead on March 23, or about a week after she was seen at her home in Mesa. Mercedes Gomez, Christina Gomez, Melissa Servin, and Nadine Chavez were arrested in connection with her death.
The four women each face federal kidnapping charges, officials said, KNPX reported.
Valenzuela’s family reported her missing by her family on March 20 and was last seen three days before that with Christina Gomez and Mercedes Gomez, said court documents obtained by the news outlet.
Her body was found three days later. Authorities ruled it a homicide.
Witnesses reported seeing a woman who appeared to be in distresses at a home on the day Valenzuela was seen last, AZFamily reported.
One witness allegedly told officials they saw Chavez, Christina Gomez, Servin, and other females “pushing or dragging the female victim, who was screaming for help and for someone to call 911” into Chavez’s home, said a police statement obtained by People magazine.
“The witness said someone from the group covered the victim’s mouth and they forced the victim into the residence,” the statement added.
Witnesses reported women “cleaning up” outside the residence, and that there was a “fight” that led to her death, authorities said in a police report.
Valenzuela’s family issued a statement about her death.
“We are very grateful for the Mesa Police Department—their time and commitment—because without their hard work we would not have these arrests. We continue to pray that the justice system will, in fact, serve justice to Melissa. To anyone with information, and to the women who have already been arrested, there is grace in salvation for you in doing the right thing and telling the truth,” the statement read, KPNX reported.
Her family told KPNX that she was a mother of three sons.
“She was so loved,” her sister, Jessica Valenzuela, told news outlets. ”She loved spending time with the family, she was so happy and so funny and she smiled all the time.”
Her sister added: “She’ll never see her sons’ prom, she’ll never meet her grandkids, and she looked forward to all those things.”
Reports have said that the four suspects are due in court on Monday.
Police have not said where Valenzuela’s body was found. They also didn’t elaborate on the cause of death.