20200708-bc-arraignment (copy)

Dressed for suicide prevention, Armando Cruz, 24 of Inglewood, is seen during his arraignment in Kern County Superior Court.

The man charged with raping and killing 13-year-old Patricia Alatorre admitted to law enforcement officers that he was responsible for her death, according to Bakersfield Police Department investigative documents filed in Kern County Superior Court.

Although Armando Cruz, 24, of Inglewood, has pleaded not guilty to 12 felony charges connected to Alatorre’s alleged sexual assault and murder, the documents indicate he gave extensive details of himself and Alatorre’s activities to BPD officers shortly after his arrest in early July. 

In a holding room of the Los Angeles Police Department's Rampart Division on July 5, Cruz admitted to having sex with Alatorre against her will, later killing her before burning her body and dumping her cellphone in the center median of a highway, according to the police reports.

Officers wrote in the documents that police later found Alatorre’s cellphone in the location where Cruz said he had gotten rid of it. Furthermore, details Cruz provided of the manner in which he had disposed of the girl’s body were “extremely similar” to what the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department observed when it found the body of an unidentified female wrapped in a red sleeping bag at the site of a fire near Aviation Boulevard and West 118th Street in Inglewood on July 3.

Cruz’s statement as documented by the BPD provides explicit detail of his relationship with Alatorre as well as her death and his attempts to cover it up.

The documents say Cruz admitted Alatorre sent him numerous intimate photos and videos of herself, while he sent an explicit photo to the 13-year-old girl. He said he traveled from Los Angeles to meet with her on two occasions. Sexual activity took place both times, the documents state.

The second visit, however, turned tragic, according to the documents. Cruz said Alatorre entered his truck and the pair drove around. Two sexual encounters took place during the journey, Cruz said. During the second Alatorre asked him to stop and began screaming. In response, Cruz said he began strangling her until she stopped.

The documents say Cruz admitted to placing duct tape over Alatorre’s mouth and nose, believing her to still be alive.

He admitted to covering her with a blanket, the documents say, and drove back to his residence in Inglewood, the documents said. He said he stopped at the interchange of Herring Road and Highway 99 to throw Alatorre’s cellphone in the bushes.

Detectives later found the cellphone in the area, the investigative document says.

When Cruz returned to his home, he told law enforcement he slept in the back of his truck. Later, he told police he wrapped her body in a red sleeping bag, dropping it off behind a large construction vehicle in a parking lot, where he lit the body on fire and fled.

When Los Angeles County sheriff’s deputies responded to a fire in the area of Aviation Boulevard and West 118th Street in Inglewood, they discovered an unidentified female wrapped in a red sleeping bag, the documents state. L.A. County sheriff’s investigators told the BPD duct tape was located on the arms and mouth of the victim, according to the documents. When investigators viewed a picture of Alatorre, they told the BPD it appeared to be the same person who was discovered in the sleeping bag, according to the documents.

Cruz is being held without bail in Kern County jail. He is next scheduled to appear in court on Sept. 2.

You can reach Sam Morgen at 661-395-7415. You may also follow him on Twitter @smorgenTBC.

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