On Friday, 36-year-old Christopher Matthew Clements was indicted for the murders of two girls in the area of Tucson, Arizona. Although both murders occurred years ago, police made a breakthrough in the case after the FBI received a tip regarding the case in 2017, according to USA Today.
Clements’ indictment includes 22 charges surrounding the case (including two for first-degree murder). He is being held in the Maricopa County Jail on a staggering $2 million cash-only bond.
What led to such drastic charges against Christopher Clements? The case began in April of 2012 when six-year-old Isabel Celis went missing from her family’s home in Tucson, Arizona. Celis’ family discovered that she was not in her bedroom on the morning of April 20 and immediately sought help by calling 911.
Initially, police did not release details surrounding the case or any named suspects. However, they cited “suspicious circumstances around a possible entry point” at the house.
Isabel Celis’ disappearance prompted national media coverage, but her body wasn't found until 2017 after investigators began speaking with Clements regarding the case.
Two years after Isabel’s disappearance, 13-year-old Maribel Gonzales of Tucson did not come home after leaving her family’s house to visit a friend. Unlike Celis’ disappearance, Gonzales’ body was found just days later in the desert northwest of Tuscon.
Despite thousands of leads, investigators found no information leading to either case being solved. The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children eventually released an age-progressed image of Isabel, but none of the resulting leads resulted in a break in the case.
For three years, both cases laid stagnant.
— TucsonNewsNow (@TucsonNewsNow) September 15, 2018
Then, in 2017, the FBI received the tip that would lead to Christopher Clements’ arrest. According to USA Today, the tip pointed to “a man who had information about Isabel’s disappearance.” After investigators spoke with Clements, they uncovered Isabel’s remains in the same general area in which Maribel’s body was found three years earlier.
Clements has an extensive criminal history including recent burglary and fraud charges.
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Investigators also found child pornography in Clements’ possession. In 2006, records show that he failed to register as a sex offender in Oregon and Florida.
In addition to two counts of first-degree murder, his new charges include 14 counts of sexual exploitation of a minor (although it is unclear whether any of these involved either of the murder victims). He also faces two kidnapping charges related to the two murder cases.
Upon hearing the news of Clements’ indictment, Maribel Gonzales’ mother released a statement to the media on behalf of the family.
"I'm so happy for justice for my beautiful daughter and the Celis family. I know Maribel is up there dancing with joy...and happy that this is all happening,” she said. “My family and I are still struggling to digest this all. It's bittersweet. A lot of emotions because this doesn't bring my daughter back. I just hope he pays for his evil actions."
Emily is a freelance writer based in Colorado, USA. She covers news, true crime, politics, feminism, and psychology.