MORENO VALLEY, Calif. – Norma Lopez went through life with a joy that touched everyone who met her — and even after her abduction and murder, she left those closest to her with a smile.

The morning Lopez, 17, was kidnapped, she fixed her older sister a peanut butter-and-jelly sandwich for lunch in exchange for borrowing a pair of black flats. Inside the bread, her sister found a goofy smiley face of banana slices.

“She just came barging in and said, ‘I need your shoes’ and left. That’s the last time I saw my sister,” Elizabeth Lopez said, tears in her eyes. “Her room is empty. There’s no Norma.”

Four of the raven-haired girl’s six siblings gathered outside the family home Thursday to remember Lopez and to plead with her killer to surrender and to explain why the teenager was targeted in the middle of the morning just blocks from her school.

Lopez, an avid dancer and aspiring fashion designer, was last seen July 15 at Valley View High School, where she was taking a summer biology class. She was abducted while walking to meet a friend after class and her decomposed body was found five days later — wearing pants but no blouse — in a field less than three miles away.

“The person that did this, why? Why her?” her older sister said. “I don’t want anybody to go through this, but why her? She had never done anything to anyone.”

Their father, Martin Lopez, said he believed he felt it in his heart when his daughter died.

“For me, the way I felt it, you feel it in the chest like a pressure, like a hit, like someone was hitting me,” he said in Spanish.

Investigators conducted vehicle checkpoints Thursday and questioned sex offenders as the hunt for the killer expanded.

Authorities questioned drivers on a street outside the school, which is near the site where Norma Lopez’s belongings were found last week. Detectives hoped to find someone who saw the girl close to the time she was abducted.

Fourteen registered sex offenders live within a two-mile radius of the high school where Lopez was last seen, according to the Megan’s Law website.

Elizabeth Lopez, said her sister disappeared while she was going to meet her younger sister at a friend’s nearby home, as she had done every day after class since summer school began.

When she didn’t show up, her younger sister and a friend went to look for her, found some of her personal items in a field 1½ blocks from the school and called authorities, said Sgt. Joseph Borja, spokesman for the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

The field, a well-known neighborhood shortcut, is off a street that dead-ends at the base of boulder-studded hills cut with trails and Norma Lopez cut across it often, her family said.

Searchers fruitlessly covered the area for several days before her body was discovered Tuesday by a man clearing brush in another rural field more than two miles away.

Police want to speak with the driver of a green SUV seen speeding from the area the day Norma Lopez vanished.

Authorities have declined to release a cause of death, citing the ongoing investigation, and would not say if she was sexually assaulted. Her father said investigators took blood samples from her sisters and mother and took hairs from her brush as part of the investigation.

Norma Lopez planned to study to become a makeup artist after graduating next year — but also spoke of becoming a fashion designer, a dancer or a model, Elizabeth Lopez said.

“My heart’s broken to pieces,” she said. “When she saw me graduate, she said, ‘That’s going to be me next year.’ She was the biggest everything in the family. She wanted to be famous, to be a star.”