by Jennifer Contreras
No arrests have been made as of Wednesday in the Sept. 2 stabbing death of Abigail Pumpido, 26, of Duarte whose body was found in a La Verne gated community.
The case was still under investigation Wednesday by the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department, in cooperation with the La Verne Police Department, according to Lt. Scott Pickwith of the LVPD.
The LVPD turned the case over to the Sheriff’s Department, because of its expertise in forensics.
A La Verne resident found Pumpido, fully clothed and with identification, at about 8:10 a.m., Sept. 2, at the corner of De Anza Heights Drive and Van Dusen Road.
Sheriff’s officials said that she had been stabbed to death, and based on new evidence and evidence found at the scene, the body was dumped and the stabbing probably took place outside La Verne’s city limits.
Pickwith said the perpetrator entered the gated community via an entrance off of Puddingstone Road. He said, this is an ungated entrance.
The LVPD is not taking any extra security measures because it does not believe that the safety of La Verne citizens has been threatened, said Pickwith.
“There is no reason to believe that the city is in any sort of danger. No particular area was involved or needs extra patrolling,” said Pickwith.
According to Sergeant Bill Marsh from the Sheriff’s Homicide Bureau, evidence was found in the victim’s vehicle.
“The victim’s vehicle was found on Sept. 3 in Hacienda Heights, about 20 miles away, and more evidence was discovered there,” Marsh said. Marsh was unable to say what the evidence was.
The LVPD and the Sheriff’s Department continue to gather evidence and information Pickwith said. However, he was unable to say whether or there were any suspects.
John Lentz, director of campus safety and transportation at the University of La Verne, said there is no need to be fearful of the perpetrator.
“Based on what little I know about the case and the victim, and the fact that it took place in northern La Verne, some distance from campus, I don’t particularly draw a connection,” Lentz said.
He went on to say that “it could’ve been an ex-boyfriend or an ex-husband, there could be many things involved. But there isn’t a serial killer wandering La Verne.”
Despite the theory about the nature of the stabbing presented by law enforcement and the non-defensive attitude expressed by Lentz, the stabbing has affected students.
“It scares me. I don’t want to be walking around at night. I have classes until 10. I’m going to have to be more cautious, I carry my pepper spray,” said sophomore liberal studies major Nicole Porec.
A campus security officer is available at all times to report to any concerns of suspicious activity and circumstances, and is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Campus safety can be reached by dialing #6666 via on-campus phones.
“We do provide an escort service on campus. If anyone is uncomfortable about walking around campus at any time they can just call campus safety. Also people should walk in pairs and park in well lit areas,” said Lentz.
The Office of Housing and Residential Life and the Campus Safety Department will be setting up meetings in the residence halls, Lentz said.
Campus Safety has also warned the resident and program assistants to be aware of students propping doors open in the dorms and letting strangers into the halls.
Campus Safety has immediate access buttons on campus phones, with the exception of the private phones in the residence halls.
Gray phone boxes located outside various campus buildings are direct lines to the Campus Safety office.
When asked if she would ever use the escort service on campus, Porec said, “I don’t think I’d ever use it, or not until that was my last resort.”
About campus security in general, Lentz said: “We’ve had some offices broken into and our biggest crime is property crime in the residence halls, in cars, and in offices. We’ve had computers stolen, also walkie-talkies and portable radios.”
Still, the event that stole the life of Abigail Pumpido, has put a different light on La Verne and the attitude of its students and the faculty.
“I’m quite shocked. The world’s a crazy place, but you would never expect La Verne having anything to do with a stabbing,” said senior theatre major, Obren Milanovic.