If you’ve ever watched any of those cold case television crime drama shows, chances are you don’t have any information to provide to investigators that would help them solve the case. But someone had some information on a 1997 case that involved the death of a pregnant woman and her unborn child.
Witnesses once afraid to talk for fear of their lives came forward after watching the February episode.
Thanks to some help from TNT’s Cold Justice, Cottonwood, Arizona police arrested Cecilio Cruz, 34, who was respnosible for killing his pregnant girlfriend. Cruz is now charged with the shooting death of his then girlfriend Marisol Gonzalez, who had carried their child nearly to full term. Unfortunately, Cruz could still walk free because police have no physical evidence against Cruz.
These kinds of cases frequently happen after a husband or boyfriend has made a request of his partner to have an abortion. Following the refusal, violence sometimes ensues that results in the death of or injury to both mother and child.
A television show that featured the nearly two-decade-old killing of an Arizona teenager and her unborn baby helped lead to the arrest of her ex-boyfriend, police said Wednesday.
Cecilio Cruz was taken into custody early Tuesday in Tucson on charges of second-degree murder and manslaughter. Police in the city of Cottonwood, about 100 miles north of Phoenix, said Cruz fatally shot 17-year-old Marisol Gonzalez in the face on March 25, 1997.
Cottonwood police Sgt. Tod Moore said Cruz, 34, had long been suspected in Gonzalez’s death. The two dated in high school, and she found out that she was pregnant with his child after they broke up. Her body was found in an alley near her Cottonwood home the same day she was scheduled to be induced to deliver the baby boy she named Andrew, Moore said.
Moore took a keen interest in the case — the only cold case within the department. A promotion freed him up in 2008 to scour boxes of material from the case, looking for anything that police could have missed. He later responded to a request from TNT’s ‘Cold Justice’ for ideas on cold cases to feature on the show. The episode ‘First Love’ aired in February.
Moore said an investigative team from the show came to Cottonwood last October and helped review dozens of leads and conduct interviews so that police could present the case to a Yavapai County grand jury. Cruz was indicted last week.
‘Most of the evidence we’ve always had, but we couldn’t put it together,’ Moore said.
Kelly Siegler, a former prosecutor who helps solve cases on ‘Cold Justice’ said the persistence of Moore and Cottonwood Police Chief Jody Fanning, who was assigned to the case in 1997, paid off.
She said prosecutors and police have ‘our complete respect and support and prayers as they continue to seek justice.’
Cruz and his family moved to Tucson about a week after Gonzalez was killed. Cottonwood police investigated her death for about two years before the leads dried up, Moore said.
Authorities believe Cruz and Gonzalez were arguing about the pregnancy and his involvement with other girls whose children he fathered on the night she was killed. Moore said one of Cruz’s cousins reported seeing Cruz and Gonzalez walking together in the area where she was killed. The cousin later recanted the statements but not before telling others what he had seen, Moore said.