BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) — Given an opportunity to accept responsibility for his horrific crimes, Armando Cruz chose to remain silent.

“No comment,” Cruz said when a probation officer asked if he admitted culpability for the rape and murder of 13-year-old Patricia Alatorre. He refused to make either a written or verbal statement, the officer’s report says.

Cruz, 26, was sentenced Nov. 1 to life in prison without possibility of parole after pleading guilty to each of the 11 felonies filed against him. Prosecutors dropped the death penalty under the plea agreement.

Although his name has become a byword in Kern County for “child killer,” his grooming and slaying of Alatorre provoking strong feelings throughout the community, much about Cruz remains unknown.

Patricia Alatorre / Photo: Bakersfield Police Department

A report filed by probation officials ahead of his sentencing provides some details on his background.

Born Feb. 29, 1996, in Ventura, Cruz graduated from high school and worked in security from 2018 until his arrest two years later. He made about $1,000 a month.

Cruz has two siblings, ages 25 and 32, according to the report. His father is retired and his mother works as a cashier. The reports don’t say where they were employed.

Cruz first drank alcohol at 13 and consumed five or six beers every other day, the report says. He said he also began using marijuana at that age and smokes daily.

“When asked if he considered himself a heavy drinker or an alcoholic, he stated, ‘Yes,'” the report says. He told the officer he “experimented” with cocaine at 21 or 22.

Cruz said told the probation officer he was under the influence of alcohol when he killed Alatorre.

The crime

Initially reported missing July 1, 2020, Alatorre’s body was found the next day in a red sleeping bag set on fire at an Inglewood construction site.

Bakersfield police obtained Ring camera footage from a neighbor showing the teen getting into a white pickup outside her home late July 1.

“The footage appeared to be the victim at 11:58 p.m., leaving the home and she can be heard saying, ‘Answer your Snapchat’ and ‘Am I leaving?'” reports say.

The family on July 4 found messages on Alatorre’s Instagram account between her and a person who offered money for a sex act. That person would later be identified as Cruz.

On July 5, Cruz was detained at his home in the Inglewood area. Interviewed at the Los Angeles Police Department, he at first denied knowing Alatorre but later admitted having contact with her on Instagram.

“(Cruz) admitted he was aware the victim was 13-years-old,” according to the probation report.

They first met in person around midnight between June 30 and July 1, Cruz said according to the report. He said he pressured her into getting together again the following night.

He admitted raping Alatorre and killing her when she struggled, according to the report and court documents.

Cruz directed authorities to where he tossed Alatorre’s cellphone.

A search of Cruz’s cellphone turned up thousands of images of child pornography, authorities said.

Cruz was arrested and transported to Kern County Jail, where he remained as of Thursday afternoon. He’s awaiting transfer to the custody of California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation.