Fighting To Survive, This Teen Used Her Last Words To Help Authorities Find Her Killers

lizette cuesta
Lizette Cuesta/Facebook

It sounds like an episode of Criminal Minds, but the story surrounding Lizette Cuesta's death is very real and very powerful.

Around 2 a.m. on February 12, a man was driving down a road in Livermore, California, when he saw a woman covered in blood on the side of the road. That girl was Lizette Cuesta, a 19-year-old San Jose City College student. She had been brutally stabbed and dumped on a remote road, but fought through life-threatening stab wounds and a boat load of blood as long as she possibly could. Richard Loadholt, the man who found her, said he covered her in a blanket and prayed with her in an effort to keep her awake until authorities arrived.

First responders brought in a helicopter to transport her to the hospital, as her state was so dire. Sgt. Ray Kelly, Alameda County Sheriff's spokesperson, said they had no idea how long she was left there, but she fought incredibly hard to stay alive. Despite her life-threatening injuries, she was able to stay awake two more hours and actually tell authorities who was responsible for her murder. Unfortunately, her fight with death ended before her family could see her, but Cuesta may have brought her killers to justice, which is pretty damn incredible.

Her exact words haven't been released, but what we do know is that just hours later, police arrested 19-year-old Daniel Gross and 25-year-old Melissa Leonardo in Modesto, California, which is around 50 miles away from the remote road where Cuesta was found.

Cuesta knew her killers. They may have even been friends, as she consensually got into their car that night, according to Sgt. Kelly. While we don't know too much about what happened, he did say there was "substantial evidence" showing that Cuesta had been tied up, and that "the two suspects are in a relationship and live together, but we are still gathering information as to why this happened."

It's no secret that Cuesta was a strong and incredibly brave woman. Even in her most difficult moments, literally fighting for her life, she sought justice. That's beyond honorable; that's downright superhero status.

Her friends and family hosted a private vigil in San Jose — her hometown. But, if you want to help her family or celebrate the life of this superwoman, you can donate to her GoFundMe account.

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