- Associated Press - Tuesday, March 3, 2015

MONTEREY PARK, Calif. (AP) - A Southern California woman pleaded not guilty Tuesday to taking part in the kidnapping, rape and murder of a 15-year-old girl who was abducted on her way to school a dozen years ago.

Rosemary Chavira, 27, was ordered jailed without bail, said Jane Robison, spokeswoman for the Los Angeles County district attorney’s office.

Chavira was charged with murder during the commission of a kidnapping and rape and also with gang allegations. If convicted, she could face life in prison without possibility of parole.

Chavira was 15 when Brenda Sierra was kidnapped on Oct. 18, 2002 while walking to a friend’s house to catch a ride to Schurr High School in Montebello.

Sierra was taken to a home in East Los Angeles, sexually assaulted, and then taken to another place where she was bludgeoned to death, according to a statement from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department.

Her body was discovered the next day in Crestline in the San Bernardino Mountains.

Chavira was arrested near her Lancaster home on Friday. Authorities expect to charge at least three other people within the next 30 days, according to the Sheriff’s Department.

The statement did not indicate what led to Chavira’s arrest.

Investigators previously released sketches of two unknown gang members and asked for the public’s help in finding them. Authorities also want to question George Barraza, who is believed to be in Mexico but may travel back and forth across the border and is wanted on a previous drug conviction.

The Sheriff’s Department on Tuesday did not release a motive for the killing.

However, investigators previously said Sierra was killed by East Los Angeles gang members to intimidate or retaliate against her brother and mother, who had witnessed a gang shooting a few weeks earlier.

Investigators have said that Sierra was not affiliated with a gang.

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