A man accused of murdering his on and off again girlfriend in Tehachapi made his first court appearance today. Cheyenne Watkins was just 23-years-old when a realtor found her body in a vacant home in Tehachapi this summer.
The family insists they’ve always known who did it, making the months that followed the crime agonizing as they were often frustrated with law enforcement. But there was lots of investigating going on no one knew about.
Julie Doughty, family friend, and “surrogate mother” to Cheyenne Watkins struggled to describe the moment she head an arrest was made. “I was absolutely speechless, I literally couldn’t put a sentence together.”
On Friday, the Kern County Sheriff’s Department arrested 35-year-old Alejandro Sanchez, the on and off again boyfriend of 23-year-old Cheyenne Watkins. Watkins was shot in the head inside this Tehachapi home, her body discovered June 1.
“We knew it was him,” said Doughty.
Today, well over a dozen family members and loved ones gathered at the courthouse to attend Sanchez’s arraignment. They stood side by side with the mothers of missing persons Baylee Despot and Micah Holsonbake, and murder victim James Kulstad.
Doughty said she had an instant connection with the mothers. “When i saw their story on tv, ‘the Bakersfield 3’, I was like they’re bringing up the same things we felt, and they’re like we’re four months in and I’m like oh my God ,there we are. That’s why I invited them here today. I wanted them to be able to walk with us into the courtroom.”
Though family said it was a joyous day, it was was one that came with lots of emotions. “There’s a murderer inside this building and it’s just so weird because it just feels weird to share the same space as him,” said Doughty.
According to the probable cause statement, Sanchez allegedly confessed to multiple people that he killed Cheyenne. Multiple people also reported seeing him with a gun the night Cheyenne was shot, and Sanchez allegedly asked someone for help destroying the weapon. Documents say cell phone data corroborated these accounts.
We asked Doughty if there was a message she had for Sanchez. oh wow…um…how dare you? you come from a good family. how dare you do this.
The family will never get over grieving for Cheyenne, forever 23, and wondering what the future would’ve had in store for her.
“Cheyenne, she was a spitfire and she had an attitude was a 23 year old girl who had taken some wrong turns and didn’t get the chance to live out her life to turn around and make those things right,” said Doughty.
Alejandro Sanchez is facing a charge of first-degree murder and has pleaded not guilty in this case. He’s being held without bail.