Murder victim remembered as 'sweetheart'

Beth Dykes Bonzo

Former classmates and dear friends remembered Pulaski County native Beth Dykes Bonzo as an "American sweetheart" as they try to come to terms with her senseless and violent death.

Police in Rancho Palos Verdes, California, say Dykes Bonzo, 45, perished last week at the hands of her own husband, Antonio "Tony" Lopez, 48. Lopez later committed suicide.

"I was heartbroken to hear what happened to Beth," said Mandy Jones, a fellow PCHS graduate. "She was a sweet girl."

"I had known her since the first year Northern Middle School opened," said Kevin Wallace. "She was a really sweet girl; very well thought of. The pretty girl from the country ... White Lily."

Beth was a 1992 graduate of Pulaski County High School, where she was a cheerleader and an honor student, according to friends.

"Beth was always the sweetest friend ... she was a lot of fun growing up," said Andrea Ridner, who cheered with Beth from middle school through high school. "She was the American Sweetheart. She was never mean to anyone. She was beautiful, smart, funny and she became exactly what she said she would become. She was a success. I was always in awe of how she left here and made a name for herself out west. The world lost a truly beautiful soul."

Dykes Bonzo was a licensed physical therapist known affectionately as "Dr. Beth." She was the owner of Coast Physical Therapy in Rancho Palos Verdes, which opened in 2011, Georgina Steiner, an employee at the business, told the Long Beach Press-Telegram.

Steiner said Dykes Bonzo was a caring, loving and bubbly person.

"Dr. Beth always cared for others, she put others first," she said.

For example, Dykes Bonzo would always make her employees' birthdays a cause for celebration, Steiner told the Press-Telegram. Every employee would get a card, balloons and a cake from Beth, she said.

"She wanted to make sure everybody was happy, that's who she was," Steiner said. "She was always going out of her way for everyone."

According to Los Angeles County homicide detectives in Rancho Palos Verdes, Lopez told family members in an email he believed his wife was having an affair before he fatally attacked her on Sept. 26. Lopez then went to their second home in Lake Arrowhead, California, where he shot and killed himself, according to officials.

A family member asked law enforcement to conduct a welfare check, according to Lt. Derrick Alfred of the Los Angeles County Sheriff's Office.

"He said he found out that she was being unfaithful. And he was going to do something, which caused them concern enough to check the welfare of her and him," Alfred said of the family member's email from Lopez.

Deputies found Dykes Bonzo deceased at the couple's home. The coroner said later in the week she died of blunt force trauma.

Lopez was found dead at the couple's second home by San Bernadino Sheriff's Office deputies with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

"This is a tragic incident," Alfred said. "We'll still investigate it fully, but it looks like this case will be solved as a murder-suicide."

Beth is survived by three sons. Pulaski Funeral Home said funeral arrangements are pending.

"I never saw Beth angry or upset with anyone," Ridner said. "I think all of us who knew her are in shock and angry (Lopez) stole her light."

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