Jessica Lynn Lopez Charged With Murder of Brittany Dawn Killgore

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Jessica Lynn Lopez, 25, was found at the Ramada Inn in San Diego last Tuesday, exhibiting several self-inflicted cuts and with a suspicious note lying nearby.

Only this wasn't your run-of-the-mill suicide attempt. Not by a long shot.

Hours later, the body of a missing San Diego-area woman, who had been the subject of a widely publicized search, was discovered 70 miles to the northeast.

Authorities then charged Lopez with murdering Brittany Dawn Killgore (below), 22.

Brittany Dawn Killgore Photo

Lopez pleaded not guilty at her arraignment Thursday. Investigators have not yet said how the women may have known each other or any alleged motive.

Scant information has only fueled speculation and deepened the mystery.

"I understand there's a great deal of interest in the crime and many unanswered questions," San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis told reporters. "Answers will come in time as this case makes its way through the criminal justice system."

Killgore disappeared April 13, four days after she filed for divorce from her husband, Lance Cpl. Cory Killgore, who has been deployed to Afghanistan for seven months.

The couple wed in July 2010 in Missouri.

The only trace left behind by the deceased was her cell phone, which was found in San Diego's trendy Gaslamp Quarter of bars and restaurants.

Another Marine, 45-year-old Staff Sergeant Louis Ray Perez, was the last person believed to have seen Killgore and is a person of interest in the case.

Perez was arrested after sheriff's deputies spotted an assault rifle that had been reported stolen, and is being held on bail for that offense.

Authorities say that Perez, whose motives are equally unclear, was not cooperative when asked about Killgore, according to the Los Angeles Times.

"The case remains under review for potential additional charges," a spokesman for San Diego District Attorney Bonnie Dumanis tells the newspaper.

Killgore's husband, meanwhile, received an emergency leave arranged by the Red Cross and is headed back to San Diego. Stay tuned.