$50K Reward in Stabbing Death of 62-Year-Old Woman Attacked During Walk Home From Store

Maria Elena Rivas was attacked as she returned home from buying groceries for the upcoming holiday in December

A $50,000 reward was approved Wednesday in the case of a 62-year-old woman stabbed to death as an assailant stole her purse during a walk home from a grocery store.

Maria Elena Rivas was attacked Dec. 22 as she returned home after buying groceries for the upcoming holiday. At about 6:30 p.m., Rivas was walking west on Adams Boulevard near Catalina Avenue, just a few blocks from the Ralphs store, when she was approached by the thief.

She was stabbed during the attack and later died at a hospital.

The purse and a wallet, in which investigators said she kept cash to pay for the groceries, were missing after the attack. Security video from the store showed Rivas using some of the money to pay the cashier just minutes before the stabbing.

"Why can't the criminals (have) just taken the money?" Rivas' nephew, Enrique Contreras, asked when interviewed after his aunt's death. "Why did they have to take her life?"

Hundreds of people mourned at a candlelight vigil three days after Christmas to remember a woman who friends said "never disrespected anybody."

The victim often stopped at the store after riding the bus home from her job as a seamstress. She was a longtime resident of South Los Angeles, family members said.

Anyone with information about the case can contact Los Angeles police at 213-485-4341.

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