A Los Angeles man has been charged with kidnapping, raping, and murdering a Bakersfield girl, a crime that could carry the death penalty.
Patricia Alatorre was 13 years old, one of eight siblings.
“If you only knew her, you would love her,” said her mother Clara through tears at a vigil Monday night. “I don’t understand why.”
Now, Alatorre’s family is one step closer to justice, as her alleged murderer was arraigned Tuesday.
“Today I filed 12 felony counts against Armando Cruz for the murder of a 13-year-old victim,” announced Kern District Attorney Cynthia Zimmer.
Those 12 counts include first-degree murder, kidnapping, rape, possession of child pornography, among other disturbing charges involving contact with a minor. Cruz, who’s 24 years old, pleaded not guilty to all charges. He’s been denied bail.
“Those special circumstances in connection with the murder carry the death penalty, life without the possibility of parole,” DA Zimmer added.
“Now we will have some kind of closure, and I just want to thank everybody because we came together as a community to do all this,” said Alatorre’s older sister, Vivianna. “You guys all helped me find my sister. It took a couple of days, but we found her.”
The community first rallied to bring Alatorre home when she was initially reported as a runaway. Unfortunately, it was not the homecoming anyone envisioned.
“Being a sister, a daughter, and an aunt, we all have a Patty in our home. It hit very close to home,” said Mo Ali, who organized a rally to support the family.
There is now an official GoFundMe page for Alatorre’s family with a goal of $25,000.
Police are still investigating Alatorre’s death, so if you have any information, you’re urged to call BPD at 327-7111.