BAKERSFIELD, CALIF - It's been one week since 15-year-old Stacy Duke was murdered in a Bakersfield garage allegedly at the hands of 23-year-old Gerardo Rodriguez. The coroner's office said the teen was strangled, and the DA's office believes she may have been raped. But still, little is known about the young victim.
Stacy Duke's friends didn't know right away that she had been killed, because they didn't know her by that name. They thought she was a woman named Angelica Cortez. Now that her death has exposed her identity, there are more questions than answers on how she ended up in Bakersfield and dead in someone's garage.
"I am very shocked and it's sad.I feel like I knew her but then I don't because she's the same person but just a different name and it's just like wow, she played it off really well, I can tell you that much she did. She had all of us thinking she was 22 years old", said friend and coworker Ladine Elizondo.
Ladine Elizondo says she worked with Stacy Duke at this internet café. But it wasn't until last week, after the teen was strangled at this home according to police that her friends and coworkers found out her real name and age.
"Honestly when I heard that something happened to her or might have happened to her I was looking for her, I tried texting her, calling her and nothing and so all of the sudden I hear on the news Stacy Duke and I think that can't be the same person and it ended up being the same person", said Elizondo.
Ladine says Stacy Duke went by the name Angelica Cortez. She says the teen claimed to have a roommate and an apartment, but would often spend her time with coworkers.
"She did have somewhere to go, this was her home-base, just like for a lot of us we work here, we work hard, and she was one of our coworkers and she was here with us all the time", said Elizondo.
Ladine says she and Stacy were working together Monday, when Stacy left to look for her cell phone on her break.
"We knew something was wrong when she didn't come back", said Elizondo.
Coworkers said Stacy Duke told them she was an orphan, but her brother says all of her family is alive. He says the family is from San Bernardino, and says Stacy ran away from foster care, which is how she ended up in Bakersfield.
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