Body ID'd as missing mother from 2017; police investigate as possible kidnapping

NORCROSS, Ga. — A Norcross mother reported missing more than two years ago has been found dead, and police are investigating it as a possible kidnapping.

Beatriz Noemi Espinoza-Fuentes was 25 years old when she was reported missing on March 25, 2017, by a family friend who said she hadn’t returned phone calls in more than 24 hours. On the same day, officers were called out to a report of a 3-year-old wandering on South Norcross Tucker Road. That child belonged to Espinoza. She also had a 6-year-old son.

“We didn’t get very far in our investigation, essentially she just disappeared,” said Gwinnett County Cpl. Michele Pihera. “We don't know what exactly led up to her disappearance, but we know someone out there knows what's going on.”

Not long after she disappeared, a friend told Channel 2's Tony Thomas that family members found pot and meth stuffed under her toddler's clothes in a backpack inside her apartment.

“It is connected, because some guy from Mexico called me and said Beatrize lost $30,000 and they want it back,” her friend told Thomas in 2017. “The family fears the worst. I do too. There is no way you can escape alive with this sort of stuff if you are involved with the dealers.”


On Friday, Gwinnett police said DNA evidence connected a body found in some woods near Riverdale in Clayton County in spring 2017 to the missing mother. There was also another body found at the scene. Two years later, they have identified Espinoza’s body but are still working to identify the second murder victim.

“They are trying to make some positive identification on him and then we can kind of backtrack and look into his history and look into our victim's history and that will hopefully give us some more information,” Pihera said. “There is a possibility that that other person is from our area.”

Espinoza’s family members did not want to speak on camera, but did send us a statement saying, “We feel sad, frustrated, and we are angry. We believe she was with a guy at the time she was kidnapped.”