A Los Angeles County man has been arrested on suspicion of murder, kidnapping, and rape in connection with the death of a Bakersfield teenager who vanished last week, KTLA sister station KGET reported Monday.
Thirteen-year-old Patricia Alatorre was last seen at her family’s home on Granite Hills and Crescent Ridge Streets in South Bakersfield the night of July 1, according to the Bakersfield television station Initially, Alatorre was reported as a runaway teenager.
“She did make a makeshift person in the bed. That’s not like her,” her mother, Clara, told the station. “She put her pajamas in the head part to make it look like somebody was in the bed, but she locked her door.”
The mother said her daughter had never run away before and there have not been any issues in the family. Her parents tried to locate her phone but found the signal ended on the freeway south of town. Police uncovered evidence in the case several days later.
“On July 4, video surveillance was located which depicted Patricia getting into a white older-model pickup truck,” Bakersfield Police Department Sgt. Robert Pair said.
Her mother added, “it sounds like she said, ‘Answer your Snapchat.’ We can’t tell if she said, “Am I leaving’ or ‘I’m not leaving.’”
Police found the truck in Inglewood Sunday. They arrested the vehicle’s owner, 24-year-old Armando Cruz, in LA County.
Cruz was booked on suspicion of 11 felonies, including first-degree murder, kidnapping, rape and possession of child pornography, among other charges involving contact with a minor.
It is unknown whether Alatorre knew Cruz.
“We’re not sure if she left on her own or somebody coached her out,” the girl’s mother said.
Bakersfield police are still investigating her disappearance. Anyone with information is urged to call 661-327-7111.