Published 6:04 PM EDT Sep 15, 2018
PHOENIX – Police say 36-year-old Christopher Matthew Clements has been charged with the kidnappings and murders of two Tucson girls before disposing of their bodies.
During a press conference Saturday, authorities identified Clements as the alleged killer of 6-year-old Isabel Celis and 13-year-old Maribel Gonzalez.
Isabel was reported missing in 2012 when her father discovered she wasn't in her bedroom on the morning of April 20.
Police never named any suspects, but they said they found "suspicious circumstances around a possible entry point" in the home.
Maribel disappeared two years later in 2014. She never came home after she told family she was going to visit a friend.
Her body was found in a desert area northwest of Tucson three days after she was reported missing.
Tucson Police Chief Chris Magnus said the big break in the case came in 2017 when the FBI received a tip about a man who had information about Isabel’s disappearance. That tip ultimately led investigators to Clements in 2017, police said.
After speaking with Clements, police investigators located Isabel’s remains in the same general area where Maribel’s had been found three years earlier.
At the time, Magnus would not offer details about what prompted detectives to search in that area.
Both deaths were declared homicides.
Clements was indicted Friday on 22 charges related to the killings, including two counts of first-degree murder; two counts of kidnapping of a minor; and one count of burglary of a residential structure.
He was also indicted on 14 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor. Officials said Clements was involved with child pornography. They did not clarify whether the exploitation charges involved Isabel or Maribel. The indictment indicated there was at least one underage male victim depicted in the photographs.
Clements is being held on a $2 million cash-only bond. He made an initial appearance in court Saturday.
Clements has been held in a Maricopa County jail since April 2017 on unrelated charges of burglary, fraud and theft.
Court records indicate he has a lengthy criminal history spanning multiple states, including a 1998 conviction on two counts attempted sexual penetration with a foreign object in Oregon. He failed to register as a sex offender in Florida in 2006.
In 2008, Clements was sentenced to 46 months in prison in Tucson after he failed to register as a sex offender when he relocated to Arizona in 2007. The 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals later overturned the conviction, ruling that he wasn't in violation of the act mandating offenders to register within three days of crossing state lines because he was convicted before it went into effect.
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