top of page
  • Writer's pictureSarah Turney

Murdered: Mercedes Marianna Vega

Murdered: Mercedes Marianna Vega

On Sunday, April 16, 2023, 22-year-old Mercedes Vega was attacked and abducted from the parking garage of her apartment complex in Tempe, Arizona. Her vehicle was found behind one of the most popular restaurants in the city near Mill Avenue, but Mercedes was not in it. She was found deceased at approximately 1:15 am on Monday, April 17, 2023, 60 miles away near Tonopah, Arizona, in a vehicle off the I-10 freeway that had been lit on fire. Her murder remains unsolved.


Mercedes was Caucasian and Puerto Rican with a fair complexion, 5’9”, 150lbs, with brown eyes and long black hair. Her vehicle was a 2019, white Dodge Charger with the license plate LUV333. The vehicle she was found in has not been identified.


If you have any information about Mercedes Vega, please call Silent Witness at 480-WITNESS. There is a $2000 reward for information leading to an arrest, and you can remain anonymous.






Anooshahr, Bahar, and Tirion Morris. “We Went to Every Single Bar on Mill Avenue in Tempe. Here’s Your Guide to ASU Nightlife.” The Arizona Republic, Arizona Republic, 24 Aug. 2022,

AZ 511, Accessed 20 Dec. 2023.

“Best Things to Do on Mill Ave in Downtown Tempe.” Tempe Tourism, 10 May 2023,

Bradley, Ben. “Body Found in Backseat of Burning Car on I-10 near Tonopah.” Https://Www.Azfamily.Com, 17 Apr. 2023,

Bradley, Ben. “Family, Friends Ask for Help Solving Murder of Tempe Woman Found Dead in Car near I-10.” Https://Www.Azfamily.Com, 28 Nov. 2023,

Buono, Bianca. “‘She Was Tortured’: Mercedes Vega Was Found Dead with Bleach in Her Throat. 7 Months Later, No Arrests Have Been Made.” 12News, 17 Nov. 2023,

“Family and Friends of Arizona Murder Victim Speak Out.” YouTube, 12 News, 28 Nov. 2023,

Grauer, Yael. “Arizona Police Agencies Gather & Share License Plate Data, but Few Ensure Rules Are Being Followed.” Arizona Mirror, 8 July 2019,

Honoring Mercedes Vega, Accessed 1 Jan. 2024.

“Honoring Mercedes Vega.” TikTok, Accessed 1 Jan. 2024.

“Mercedes Marianna Vega.” Gilbert Memorial, Accessed 1 Jan. 2024.

Naham, Matt. “Parents Reveal Horrifying Truth about Death of 22-Year-Old Daughter on Dave & Busters Night Out.” Law & Crime, 27 Oct. 2023,

O’Sullivan, Serena. “Family of Mercedes Vega Speaks out about Her Unsolved Torture, Killing.” Phoenix New Times, Phoenix New Times, 29 Nov. 2023,

Polakoff, Elliott. “Phoenix Police Unveil New Security Cameras Ahead of Super Bowl LVII.” Https://Www.Azfamily.Com, 7 Feb. 2023,

Santa Cruz, Elena, and Dylan Wickman. Little Known about Mercedes Vega’s Arizona Death - Azcentral.Com, Accessed 28 Dec. 2023.

Santa Cruz, Elena, and Dylan Wickman. “‘She Was Just a Kid’: No Leads in Tempe Woman’s Death Months after Being Found in Burning Car.” Azcentral, 22 Oct. 2023, Accessed 22 Oct. 2023.

Sarbak, Marissa. “Who Killed Mercedes Vega? Burned Body of Tempe Woman Found Months Ago, Still Unsolved.” Fox 10 Phoenix, 2 Oct. 2023,

Turney, Sarah. “Interview with Erika Pillsbury.” 7 Dec. 2023.

Vandell, Perry. “Family Begs for Answers Months after Tempe Woman’s Body Found in Burning Car.” The Arizona Republic, Arizona Republic, 29 Nov. 2023,

Whitney, Briana. “Burned Alive: Mercedes Vega’s Parents Provide Horrific Details of Daughter’s Murder, Desperate for Answers.” Https://Www.Azfamily.Com, 27 Oct. 2023,

Whitney, Briana. “Friends Gather to Search for Answers in Tempe Woman’s Bizarre, Unsolved Murder.” AZFamily, 2 Oct. 2023, Accessed 11 Nov. 2023.


Recent Posts

See All


bottom of page