Man is charged in kidnapping, deaths of two Arizona girls
TUCSON, Ariz. — A man jailed since last year has been charged in the kidnapping and killing of two Arizona girls who went missing in 2012 and 2014, authorities announced Saturday.
Christopher Matthew Clements, 36, was indicted on Friday by a grand jury on 21 criminal counts, including murder and kidnapping charges in the deaths of 6year-old Isabel Celis and 13year-old Maribel Gonzalez, said Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus.
Isabel went missing from her Tucson home in April 2012, and her body was discovered in what was described as a rural area in March 2017.
Maribel’s body was discovered in June 2014 in the Avra Valley community near Tucson, not far from where Isabel’s remains would be found three years later.
Magnus and other officials held a news conference to announce the indictment but declined to answer questions from reporters and did not disclose how the girls died or what prompted authorities to investigate Clements in the killings, except to say that the FBI in 2017 learned Clements might have information about the death of Isabel.
He then provided information to authorities that led to the discovery of Isabel’s remains, Magnus said. Investigators later discovered additional pieces of evidence but did not describe Saturday what they had found.
Clements already had been in a Phoenix-area jail for more than a year facing other charges when the indictment was issued.
Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall called the identification of Clements as the killer of the girls “long overdue.”
“The heart-wrenching tragedies of Maribel Gonzalez and Isabel Celis’ murders have been compounded by a very long, long wait for justice,” she said.
Isabel’s father reported the girl missing on the morning of April 21, 2012, after he went to her bedroom and she was not there.
Police previously did not name suspects, but they said they found “suspicious circumstances around a possible entry point” into the home.
A medical examiner last year ruled Isabel Celis’ death as “homicide by unspecified means.” A heavily redacted autopsy report did not indicate how she died.
Maribel went missing on her way to a friend’s house and her body was found days later.
Clements made his first court appearance Saturday morning.
Maricopa County sheriff’s Sgt. Bryant Vanegas said that Clements was jailed in April 2017 on suspicion of burglary, theft and fraudulent schemes.
The indictment made public Saturday did not provide any details about how the girls were killed or what evidence linked Clements to the killings.
It said he also was charged with burglary, theft and possession or distribution of child pornography in other cases dating from 2012 through 2016.