A family in Bakersfield, California is mourning the loss of their 13-year-old daughter to a violent crime. Patricia Alatorre went missing on the night of July 1. She was last seen getting into a strange white truck. Now, police are charging 24-year-old Armando Cruz with sexual assault and murder in connection with her death.
WARNING: Some of the details in this story will be disturbing to readers.
An Unthinkable Crime
According to a police affidavit obtained by People, Alatorre and Cruz had been communicating on social media “over the course of a week” prior to the incident. The document revealed that the two exchanged inappropriate pictures with one another.
During that time, Cruz allegedly traveled from his home in Los Angeles county to Bakersfield twice to meet with Alatorre. The second time was on July 1, when Alatorre went missing. The affidavit states that Cruz picked up Alatorre and “drove her around the block against her will as she screamed, indicating that she did not want to go with him.”
At this point a struggle ensued, during which Cruz allegedly began raping Alatorre. When she resisted the assault, Cruz allegedly strangled her to death.
Police say Cruz sexually assaulted her again at this point, before pouring lighter fluid on her body and lighting it on fire.
Cruz was arrested on Monday, July 6, after police seized a vehicle matching the description of the white pick-up truck Alatorre was seen getting into. He now faces felony charges of first-degree murder, kidnapping, rape by force/fear, lewd and lascivious acts with a child under 14 and contacting a minor with intent to commit sexual offense, according to People.
Cruz has pleaded not guilty to all charges, and it’s currently unclear whether or not he has legal representation. Police are holding him without bail.
Meanwhile, Alatorre’s family is holding nightly candlelight vigils in memory of their daughter. They plan to hold one every night until Patricia is laid to rest.
The family has also started a GoFundMe to assist with expenses during their difficult ordeal. Currently, the fund has surpassed its $25,000 goal with nearly $44,000 in donations.
“I don’t want Patricia to be remembered as the 13-year-old missing girl, or the case of the murdered 13-year-old,” her mother, Vivianna, wrote on the GoFundMe page. Instead, she says, she wants people to remember her daughter as a “sweet, caring young lady” with a “bold personality.”
Patricia Alatorre — Sources:
23ABC News Bakersfield
People – “Calif. Girl, 13, Was Allegedly Killed After Resisting Sexual Advances of Man She Talked to Online”
People – “Calif. Girl, 13, Went Missing Last Week, and Suspect Is Arrested on Murder, Sex Assault Charges”