Body identified as missing woman

February 23, 2009 4:20:29 PM PST
The body of a woman found in a ditch in northwest Harris County is that of Sabrina Pina. She disappeared from a department store on Saturday. [SIGN UP: Get headlines and breaking news sent to you]

Late Monday afternoon Harris county homicide confirmed the death of Pina. Her body was found in a ditch not long after she vanished while shopping off Highway 249 and Spring Cypress Road.

Family members were hoping to find their missing loved one, but certainly not like this. Just two days after Sabrina Pina, 27, disappeared, her family got the news they did not want to hear. They learned late Monday that a woman's body found outside a northwest Harris County salt mine was that of the Tomball woman. Authorities say Pina had been shot to death, and her body dumped beside a road.

"Please pray for us, for her and for all of us, continue praying," Pina's friend Tatiana Armenta tearfully begged.

Pina's family last spoke with her around noon Saturday. They say she had been shopping in the Willowbrook area. She had called her husband as she made several stops, first at a Lens Crafters, then a Target store and then a Home Depot. By 5pm when she had not showed up for dinner, her family knew something was wrong.

Pina's mother Mary Helen Tolentino told Eyewitness News on Sunday, "She is never late, always ahead of time. She has a habit of calling her husband when she's out and about."

The family quickly mobilized a search, but to no avail. Upon returning home that night, Pina's father found her truck abandoned at the back of a Kohl's parking lot. The vehicle was locked and all her shopping bags were inside. They also found a receipt placing her at a Sonic restaurant around 1:30pm that afternoon.

"The waitress there said she did not remember anybody else being in the vehicle with her," Tolentino said.

Police are trying to figure out what happened next, canvassing the area around the shopping area where Pina disappeared. All of this has family members continuing to ask how this could happen.

Armenta said, "We need everybody to pray, because she's a sister, she's a best friend, she's a daughter. She was somebody who wanted to be a mom."

If you have any information about this murder, you're urged to call the Harris County Sheriff's Department at 713-221-6000.

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