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Suspect Nabbed in Murders of Girls Who Vanished Years Apart

Police say Christopher Clements killed Isabel Celis, 6, and Maribel Gonzalez, 13
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 17, 2018 7:12 PM CDT
This undated photo released by the Tucson Police Department on Saturday, Sept. 15, 2018 shows Christopher Matthew Clements, 36.   (Tucson Police Department via AP)

(Newser) – A registered sex offender jailed since last year has been charged in the kidnapping and killing of two Arizona girls who went missing in 2012 and 2014, authorities announced Saturday. Christopher Matthew Clements, 36, was indicted on Friday by a grand jury on 21 criminal counts, including murder and kidnapping charges in the deaths of 6-year-old Isabel Celis and 13-year-old Maribel Gonzalez, Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said. Celis went missing from her Tucson bedroom in April 2012, and her body was discovered in what was described as a rural area in March 2017. Gonzalez' body was discovered in June 2014, days after she went missing on her way to a friend's house, in the Avra Valley community near Tucson, not far from where Celis' remains would be found three years later.

Magnus and other officials held a news conference to announce the indictment, the AP reports. But they declined to answer questions from reporters and did not disclose how the girls died or what prompted authorities to investigate Clements in the killings, except to say that the FBI in 2017 learned Clements might have information about the death of Celis. He then provided information to authorities that led to the discovery of Celis' remains, Magnus said. Investigators later discovered additional pieces of evidence, but they did not describe Saturday what they had found. Clements had already been in a Phoenix-area jail facing other charges when the indictment was issued; he was jailed in April 2017 on suspicion of burglary, theft and fraudulent schemes. Clements was charged and convicted in Oregon in 1998 of sex-related crimes and was required to register as a sex offender.

(Read more sex offenders stories.)

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