Murdered girl's friends and family still struggling to heal
It was a crime that horrified students at a local high school when their classmate was raped and murdered at the beginning of the school year.Photo: Video by ktnv.com
Las Vegas, NV (KTNV) -- It was a crime that horrified students at a local high school when their classmate was raped and murdered at the beginning of the school year.
Now, with summer vacation at hand, they're making sure the teenager isn't forgotten.
15-year-old Alyssa Otremba's charred body was found last September in a desert lot in the far northwest Valley. She was attacked and stabbed to death just blocks from Arbor View High School, where she was a sophomore.
Thursday night, students and teachers at the school took a step in the healing process by presenting a scholarship in Alyssa's name. It will be awarded each year to a graduating senior who has a passion for music, just like Alyssa did.
Alyssa's mom was at the ceremony. Action News spoke with her about how she's still haunted by the horrific memories of the ordeal.
Jennifer Otremba is taking it one day at a time, but wants to know how the alleged killer, who had a history of violence, was free to prey on her innocent daughter.
"I'm devastated and I'm broken," Jennifer said. "This is going to be a life-long process."
The pain of learning to live without Alyssa is magnified by the brutal way the 15-year-old spent her last moments.
"It runs through my mind all the time," Jennifer said.
Police say Javier Righetti raped Alyssa, then stabbed her more than 80 times before setting her body on fire. Alyssa was walking close to home on Grand Teton near Oso Blanca, near tunneled trails, when Righetti reportedly struck.
"It's just unimaginable that anybody's capable of doing it," Jennifer said. "I can't wrap my head around it."
The tunnel trails have since been blocked off as a safety precaution, after police revealed this wasn't Righetti's first attack in the area.
Just months before he allegedly killed Alyssa, Righetti confessed to attacking an Arbor View cheerleader in the tunnels. With the help of friends, she was able to get away.
"There are people that knew what he was capable of, and nothing was done," Jennifer said.
That's what frustrates Alyssa's mother the most. She says Righetti's violent past dates back to when he was 12. In 2009, he was expelled from Centennial High School for an attempted assault in a girl's bathroom.
"There weren't enough notifications made as to what was out in our community," Jennifer said. "And people need to be aware of that."
Javier Righetti is behind bars, and could face the death penalty. Alyssa's mom says she's scheduled to face him in court in the fall. She says it's the strong community support, like the scholarship in Alyssa's name, that has helped her through the grieving process.