Martyne Elizabeth 'Dr. Beth' Bonzo, 45
Martyne Elizabeth "Dr. Beth" Bonzo, also known as Martyne Dykes-Bonzo, a 45-year-old white woman, was pronounced dead on Thursday, Sept. 26, after she was stabbed and struck with a heavy object in the 27800 block of Palmeras Place in Rancho Palos Verdes, according to Los Angeles County Department of Medical Examiner-Coroner records.
Los Angeles County sheriff's deputies found Bonzo lying alone in her home with traumatic injuries after a family member requested a welfare check, said Lt. Derrick Alfred.
Bonzo was pronounced dead at the scene at 4:34 p.m., according to coroner's records. The cause of death is listed as sharp and blunt-force injuries of the neck and head.
Bonzo, a physical therapist who owned Coast Physical Therapy in Rancho Palos Verdes, lived in the home with her husband, Antonio Lopez Jr., 48, a private-practice defense attorney in Rancho Palos Verdes and former deputy district attorney for the Los Angeles County attorney general's office, Alfred said.
The two had met a few years earlier, he said, and both had adult and teenage children from previous marriages, but no one was home at the time Bonzo was killed.
Family members told investigators they received an email from Lopez that afternoon saying he suspected Bonzo of infidelity and he had "done something evil," Alfred said.
"He appears to have just lost it," Alfred said. "He confronted her on this issue in their marriage and then snapped. He stabbed her and bashed her over the head before driving up to their home in Lake Arrowhead."
Once up in Lake Arrowhead, investigators believe Lopez wrote more letters to his children and other family members before shooting himself in the head. His sister went looking for him and found his body at the house.
Bonzo was born in Somerset, Ky., and is survived by her mother, sister and three sons, ages 23, 19 and 16, according to her obituary. She was a 1992 graduate of Pulaski County High School, where she was remembered as an honor student, cheerleader and "American Sweetheart," according to an article in her hometown newspaper, the Commonwealth Journal.
She got her master of science degree in physical therapy from the University of Kentucky in 1998, according to her clinic website, and worked as a rural physical therapy provider for the Kleinert Hand Institute in Kentucky, where she specialized in shoulder and upper extremity physical therapy.
In 2007 Bonzo took a position as a military contractor, working to rehabilitate Army Rangers, Air Force pilots and special ops soldiers, and went on to work with orthopedic surgeons, creating post-surgical rehab protocols for people in a wide range of physically demanding activities. The Daily Breeze newspaper reported that her business, Coast Physical Therapy, opened in 2011.
"Dr. Beth always cared for others, she put others first," employee Georgina Steiner told the paper. For instance, Steiner said, Bonzo always made sure to celebrate every one of her employees' birthdays with a card, balloons and cake. "She wanted to make sure everybody was happy."
Bonzo was buried on Oct. 12 in a private graveside service in the city where she was born. In lieu of flowers, the family requested contributions to local domestic abuse organizations.
Her husband, Lopez, served in the U.S. Navy as an air crewman aboard P-3 Orion aircraft, operating sonar equipment to track and attack enemy submarines, according to information on his law office website. He was part of a squadron at Naval Air Station Pt. Mugu in Ventura County before going to UCLA Law School, where he graduated in 1999.
Lopez became a criminal prosecutor for the Los Angeles County district attorney's office and also worked as a deputy attorney general for the state, prosecuting cases involving professional licenses regulated by state boards before going into private practice.
Anyone with information is asked to call the sheriff's Homicide Bureau at (323) 890-5500. Those wishing to remain anonymous should call Crime Stoppers at (800) 222-8477.