NBC’s ‘Dateline: The Promise’ is an episode that examines the brutal murder case of 20-year-old Cathy Torrez, an honors sociology student at CSUF, who was slain by her ex-boyfriend, Sam Lopez, on February 12, 1994. While his exact motives have never been clearly stated, official records imply that he may have been driven by Cathy’s refusal to elope with him. But what’s worse is that the two individuals practically grew up together in California’s Placentia neighborhood, so this crime shocked the entire community to its core. And no one was more heartbroken than Cathy’s mother, Mary Bennett.
Who is Mary Bennett?
As a kind and loving mother, Mary Bennett always wanted the best for her children. Thus, she provided them with every possible opportunity to succeed. Whether it be for Cathy Torrez or her three siblings – brother Martine “Marty” Torrez or sisters Tina and Debbie – Mary gave them her all. So, of course, when Cathy passed away, and the police couldn’t decide how to proceed with her murder case, Mary stepped up to do what she’d always done. After all, the matter wasn’t a puzzle to her; she had a gut feeling that Sam, who lived across the street from her, was her daughter’s killer.
As per reports, in the one week between when Cathy went missing and when her remains were discovered, heavy rains washed away most of the physical evidence at the crime scene. Therefore, with no traces of Sam on Cathy or her car, nothing could be done. However, Mary didn’t lose hope. Instead, she got in touch with Placentia sergeant Daron Wyatt, and together, they began their journey to get Sam convicted. Mary turned her life around in pursuit of justice, but even when she saw her neighbor move on, fall in love, get married, and then have a daughter, she didn’t give up.
Where is Mary Bennett Now?
All of Mary’s hard-work came close to a conclusion in the summer of 2007, when she got the call she had waited 13 years for; Sam Lopez was charged and arrested for her daughter’s murder. “I was overwhelmed with emotion,” Mary said. “I thanked God. I was crying. Now, we start another journey through the legal system.” But little did she know that that would take almost eight more years. However, when Sam was finally convicted of first-degree murder, Mary knew that her 21-year-long fight had been worth it.
After the court proceedings in 2015, Mary Bennett talked to ABC7 News and revealed that she had never lost faith in the system. “Even though people say no, there’s nothing that they can do anymore, you have to keep trying,” she stated. “That’s the one thing that kept me going, kept us going.” In saying that, though, when Sam finally admitted to slaying Cathy during his sentencing hearing and apologized to Mary and the entire family for the pain he’d caused, she remained unmoved.
“I still believe he has no remorse for what he did,” she said. Even though this result doesn’t lessen her grief or suffering in any way, it seems like Mary Bennett is glad that Sam is now behind bars. And today, living her life away from the spotlight, it also looks like she’s happy to have a relative sense of normalcy once again.
Read More: How Did Cathy Torrez Die?