Police, family seek answers after 22-year-old Tempe woman found dead in burning car

Nov 28, 2023, 4:15 PM

PHOENIX — The family of a 22-year-old Tempe woman who was found dead in a burning car is still seeking answers seven months after her murder.

Mercedes Vega’s body was located in a vehicle on fire outside of Tonopah on April 17 at around 12:30 a.m., according to a Silent Witness poster.

Very little other information about Vega’s death has been released, but the family believes it has some knowledge about the events leading up to it.

Her family believes Vega was abducted from the parking garage of her Tempe apartment complex, according to a GoFundMe page set up by Vega’s mother, Erika Pillsbury, that is offering a reward for information on her daughter’s killer.

Vega’s 2019 Dodge Charger was found near Mill Avenue in Tempe, about 60 miles from where her body was found in another car.

“I miss her. It’s so hard to believe that she’s gone,” Pillsbury said during a Tuesday press conference. “It’s so hard to believe that I’ll never see her again.”

Silent Witness is offering $2,000 for information leading to the arrest of Vega’s killer.

Pillsbury’s GoFundMe has raised more than $1,300 in reward money as of Tuesday.

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Police, family seek answers after 22-year-old Tempe woman found dead in burning car