UCLA Fire Victim Faced Ecstasy Case
The woman found dead following a Monday morning fire near UCLA had been expected to appear in court today in a case that involved allegations she possessed party drugs and intended to sell them, according to the Los Angeles County District Attorney's office.
A copy of the complaint shows that prosecutors alleged Andrea "Andy" DelVesco had MDMA (ecstasy), LSD, psychedelic mushrooms (psilocybin) and methamphetamine for sale on or before June 4.
L.A. Sheriff's Department records indicate she was arrested by UCLA police at 3:57 p.m. on June 4. She was released from jail at 2:17 a.m. the next day.
The four-count case against her, including one count for each drug allegedly in her possession, was filed July 8, said D.A.'s spokeswoman Jane Robison.
"She pleaded not guilty and was set to return today for the preliminary hearing at the Airport branch court," she told us.
The 7:05 a.m. fire at 10954 Roebling Ave. in Westwood was doused by 32 firefighters in 15 minutes, but afterword first responders found DelVesco's body, according to the Los Angeles Fire Department.
The case is now part of an arson investigation and, although it's not officially a murder case, "We are investigating it as if it were a homicide," said Los Angeles Police Department Commander Andrew Smith.
At Tuesday's Police Commission meeting, Chief Charlie Beck told the Los Angeles Times that someone was seen running from the scene of the fire and that "we want to talk to that individual."
"We are naturally looking to talk to anyone that was there, or near there at the time," Smith told us.
There has been media speculation that an alleged drug connection could have killed DelVesco over fear she would turn in a suspected source in a hypothetical attempt to make a deal with prosecutors.
Smith responded to that by saying, "We are looking at every possibility or motive at this time and will be following up any and all leads."
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The cause of the fire was still "under active investigation, being done jointly with the LAPD," city fire spokesman Brian Humphrey said.
The UCLA Daily Bruin, which first ID'd the fire victim from Austin, Texas, reported she was a psychology and Spanish major at the school and that she was living in a building used by her sorority, Pi Beta Phi, for housing.
Coroner's officials couldn't provide information about the case because a hold was placed on it by murder detectives.
Anyone with information on the situation was asked to call the LAPD Robbery-Homicide Division at 213-486-6890.