Man indicted for kidnappings, murders of Isabel Celis & Maribel Gonzales
A 36-year-old man was indicted Friday for the murder and kidnapping of two young Tucson girls, Isabel Celis and Maribel Gonzales.
Christopher Matthew Clements, 36, was indicted by a grand jury on Friday on 22 counts for allegedly kidnapping and murdering the two girls, who disappeared in a two-year period in Tucson beginning in 2012.
The indictment includes two charges of first-degree murder, two counts of kidnapping a minor under fifteen, two counts of burglary in the second degree, theft and trafficking in stolen property.
Clements also faces 14 counts for allegedly creating, distributing and selling child pornography.
Isabel, 6 at the time of her disappearance, was reported missing from her Tucson home on the morning of April 21, 2012 and despite a large police search, was never found alive.
Maribel, then 13, disappeared on June 3, 2014 after she left her Midtown home to visit a friend and never returned. Three days later, her body was recovered in a desert area in northwest Tucson, near North Trico and West Avra Valley roads.
Isabel's body was located in the same area of northwest Pima County nearly five years after she was last seen, in March 2017. The young girl's body was found after police had a tip about Clements that month, but he was not indicted in the case until this week.
The two cases remained open and unconnected until 2017, when when the FBI received the tip about Clements, said Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus during a press conference Saturday.
The FBI contacted TPD and investigators were able to find human remains in the same general area where Maribel's body was found three years earlier, he said. These remains were later identified to be those of Isabel.
Homicide detectives with TPD reviewed the original casework and conducted interviews throughout the state and across the country, and were able to link the two cases together, said Magnus.
The new evidence, in conjunction with the details and evidence from the original investigation was presented to the Pima County Attorney's Office, which sought Friday's indictment.
Clements, who was already in custody at the Maricopa County Jail on an unrelated fraud and burglary case, was read the charges by detectives from the Tucson Police Department and the Pima County Sheriff's Department.
Clements is being held on a $2 million cash bond, said Magnus. Clements had his initial appearance in a Maricopa County court on Saturday, he said.
Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall said she had assigned three experienced prosecutors to the case.
LaWall said that the "heart-wrenching tragedies" in the murders of Isabel and Maribel were "compounded by the long, long wait for justice," and noted that Clements had been "at liberty for the murder of Isabel longer than she was alive."
"This was long overdue," said LaWall.
LaWall thanked law enforcement officers for their "dogged persistence" in the investigation.
LaWall said that because the case remains open, officials would "not be sharing details about the case," and referred questions to the indictment.
Both LaWall and Magnus took great pains to note that the charges in the indictment are "accusations" and that Clements remains "innocent until proven guilty."