A 17-year old girl was to have her baby delivered the next day when she was found shot to death in an alley near her home in Cottonwood, Ariz., according to the fourth episode of season two of Cold Justice last Friday, Feb. 6. The tragic slaying resulted in the death of two people.
The double-murder occurred 16 years ago and caught the attention of former Houston prosecutor Kelly Siegler and former Las Vegas Police Department investigator Yolanda McClary of TNT's popular Cold Justice show. As they descend upon the town in an attempt to move the stalled investigation forward they discover she was last seen at 10 p.m. the night of the murder in 1997.
Victim Marisol Gonzalez is reported missing at 5 a.m. Then, at 6:58 a.m. the community is enveloped in horror when her body is found lying in an alley near her home with a gunshot wound to her face. She won't be making the appointment at the doctor's office to have her baby delivered.
McClary explained the fatal wound, saying, "The bullet entered the left side of her face and exited the right side. There is another injury to her face which might have been caused by the sight of the gun. Marisol may have tried to push the gun upward if her shooter was aiming at her chest causing the other injury."
Siegler analyzed the case as follows: "The Cottonwood Police Dept. considered boyfriend Cecilio Neal Cruz to be their main suspect. At 10 p.m. the night of the murder Cruz went to sleep in his home with no alibi for the time of the murder. One of the keys to this case is that he claimed he never received a phone call from Marisol the night she was murdered. If we can prove that he did, that will be a major step forward."
The investigation reveals that Cecilio is the father of both Marisol's unborn baby and also second girlfriend Kylee's child.
"This is a case where fear has stopped witnesses from co-operating with police on the initial investigation," the former prosecutor explained. "We have to talk to nine witnesses this week if we are to make progress on this case."
The TNT team strike gold when they find Lupita who provides new information. She discloses she was with Marisol shortly before she was murdered and heard her say, "Cecilio's calling me."
This proves the suspect was lying to police when he said he'd not talked to her the day of the murder. A second witness Perla opens up and said Marisol told her, "Yeah, I'm getting a call from Cecilio", shortly before her death.
When retired Houston detectives Alan Brown and Armando Perez appeared at Cecilio's workplace to interview him, he claims up, saying, "I want an attorney."
Under U.S. law any evidence obtained from a suspect is not admissible once he invokes his Miranda right to an attorney, so Brown and Perez leave the premises.
One of the investigators says wryly, "Well, at least he probably won't sleep well tonight since he realizes it's still on the radar."
With no eyewitnesses willing to talk and no DNA, it is a difficult case. But the Cold Justice team is not willing to fold their tents simply because this is not an easy case.
Siegler had suggestions for Sgt. Tod Moore of the Cottonwood Police Dept.
Siegler summed up the findings, saying, "We've got strong motive. Cecilio saw both girlfriends pregnant at the doctor's office that day, we've got witnesses who heard Marisol say she received a phone call from Cecilio that day when he denied he called her.
Brown said, "You need Kylee on your side. As a witness."
Siegler agreed, "Maybe you offer her immunity in return for her testimony and co-operation."
Moore then reports the results of the Cold Justice team's investigation to the district attorney. He returns with a broad grin on his face, saying, "They want us to follow up on a few things, but the DA says he'll move forward to the grand jury with the case."
A message printed across the screen at the end of the show says, "DA said he will present evidence against Cecilio Cruz to a grand jury and ask for an indictment for murder."
Cottonwood Police Chief Jody Fanning thanked the TNT crew for their help in the case involving the murder of Marisol Gonzales and her unborn son Andrew.
Fans of Cold Justice will be excited to hear the show has been extended into a third season during the summer of 2014. That's good news for fans but bad news for the 200,000 cold case murderers who have escaped prosecution since 1980.
The show airs on TNT weekly on Fridays at 9 p.m. CST.
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