Arizona sex offender gets life sentence for kidnapping and killing 13-year-old girl
11/15/2022 11:28 am PST
TUCSON, Ariz. (TCD) -- A convicted sex offender with a long criminal record was recently sentenced to life in prison for the kidnapping and murder of a 13-year-old girl.
On April 21, 2012, 6-year-old Isabel Mercedes Celis was reported missing, the Tucson Police Department announced. A couple years later, on June 3, 2014, 13-year-old Maribel Gonzales reportedly left her home near Broadway Boulevard and never returned. A few days later, police said her body was found in a desert in Pima County, Arizona.
According to police, Gonzales’ death was ruled a homicide. An investigation was reportedly launched and remained open.
Several years later, in 2017, authorities identified Christopher Clements as a primary suspect in the disappearance of Celis, the 6-year-old victim. Clements was reportedly interviewed in March 2017, and investigators with the Tucson Police Department and FBI agents recovered Celis’ remains in the same area where Gonzales’ body was found. Celis death was ruled a homicide as well.
On Friday, September 14, 2018, Clements was indicted in connection to the girls’ deaths, according to police. In September of this year, he was found guilty in the kidnapping and murder of Gonzales, KGUN-TV reports.
Cellphone tracking and photo evidence of young girls on Clements’ iPad was reportedly presented during the trial. Jurors also heard testimony from Clements’ ex-girlfriend.
According to KGUN, Clements, who is already serving a sentence for an unrelated burglary conviction, was sentenced to life, with an additional 17 years for the kidnapping charge.
Clements will face a different jury for the Celis case starting Feb. 2, 2023, The Associated Press announced.
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