SAN DIEGO — An autopsy determined that a body found on the Barona Indian Reservation is that of a missing 79-year-old Serra Mesa woman, police said Friday.
Mehria Mansury disappeared the morning of Sept. 24 after leaving her home in the 2800 block of Amulet Street, authorities said. The body was found Wednesday afternoon near San Vicente Oaks Road and Wild Cat Canyon Road.
The condition of the body made it impossible to identify her on sight, SDPD Lt. Jorge Duran said. The body was found face down and bore signs of animal activity, he said. Forensic technicians at the Medical Examiner’s Office positively identified the corpse through fingerprints, Duran said.
Police arrested Mansury’s 42-year-old daughter, Ghazal “Gazelle” Ybarra Mansury, Thursday on suspicion of murdering her mother and dumping the body on the Barona Indian Reservation. Possible accomplices may be arrested in the future, Duran said Friday.
“Early on, information from family indicated that they suspected foul play,” Duran said, noting that extended family members directed detectives to look at the victim’s daughter, who has a criminal past related to theft.
“We considered her a person of interest from the onset,” he said.
Within hours of a body being found underneath a tree on the Barona Indian Reservation near Ramona, the suspect was seen Wednesday evening being escorted by police from the Amulet Street home she shares with her mother. She told reporters at the scene she was not under arrest as she walked unrestrained to a waiting unmarked vehicle.
She was later released, then arrested late Thursday afternoon as she and her 57-year-old boyfriend, Lucio Moreno, exited a friend’s house in City Heights. SDPD homicide Lt. Jorge Duran said. She was being held without bail at Las Colinas women’s jail in Santee pending arraignment, scheduled for Monday afternoon.
Moreno was interrogated and released, though he remains a “person of interest” in the case, the lieutenant told news crews.
A third person identified as a visitor to the Mansury home was taken into custody at the residence on Thursday in connection with an unrelated arrest warrant. Citing the ongoing investigation, Duran said the person was female but declined to identify her further or say what the arrest warrant was for.
“There may be further suspects that may be arrested at some point,” Duran said without elaboration.
Police disclosed no suspected motive for the alleged murder, and the cause of the victim’s death remained under investigation, the lieutenant said.
Ghazal Mansury has a criminal past for theft, and a woman who lives across the street from the Mansurys told U-T San Diego that she often overheard arguments between the mother and daughter.
Neighbor Denise Lattizzori, 79, said she last saw the victim in front of her home a day or two before she disappeared.
“She was mad, walking by her flowers, and she said, `I am not going to pay for that,”’ Lattizzori said of the victim, a widow whose husband died about 10 years ago. Lattizzori said the victim appeared to be talking to someone who was out of view.
According to U-T San Diego, San Diego Superior Court records showed the suspect was previously charged with two counts of burglary — one involving a house and the other, a Jack in the Box — one count of acquiring an access card and three counts of petty theft for using an access card/account information.
She pleaded guilty on Oct. 22, 2010, to the Jack in the Box burglary in exchange for the other charges being dropped and was placed on three years probation. She was also ordered to serve 30 days of public service and to pay nearly $1,700 in restitution.
Moreno, the suspect’s boyfriend, also has a criminal past involving possession of controlled substances and possession of a loaded handgun, NBC 7/39 reported.
Lattizzori said Mehria Mansury had lived in Afghanistan before the Russian invasion in 1979 and told stories about how she and her husband once had a large home with servants.
“It’s just so sad,” Lattizzori said.