PHOENIX — Nearly 20 years after Crystal Reyes disappeared, a man has been arrested for her murder.
Avelino Guzman Tamala, 51, was apprehended last week after a cold case investigation team linked him to Reyes’ 1997 death.
Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery was emotional and holding back tears today as he revealed details of the case to reporters in Phoenix.
“Investigators developed information that [Reyes] was killed in April 1997 while in the care of Tamala and her mother.”
Montgomery then paused before saying, “She was subsequently buried in the desert near Mobile.
Reyes’ partial skeleton was discovered in late 1998. The remains were identified earlier this year through DNA testing.
Montgomery said that before her death, Reyes was kept in horrible conditions.
“[Reyes] was physically abused while in the United States and forced to live in a dog kennel,” he said.
Authorities are looking for Reyes’ 48-year-old mother, who also goes by the name Anna Marlene Somoza. Montgomery said that, as of right now, she is a person of interest and not a suspect
“We believe that she might be in Mexico, and have deputy marshals working very hard on trying to locate her,” David Gonzalez of the U.S. Marshal’s Office said. “We are working with our partners in the Republic of Mexico to assist us in finding her.”
Gonzales said Anna crossed into Mexico from San Ysidro, Calif. in 2008.
“We are asking for the assistance from the public. If they have any information on Anna’s whereabouts to please call,” he said.
Anyone with information on her whereabouts is asked to contact the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office at 602-506-3411.
KTAR’s Bob McClay contributed to this report.