Tucson man arrested for killing his 17-year-old cousin

Tucson man arrested for killing his 17-year-old cousin
Gerardo Salinas was arrested and booked into the Pima County jail on Sunday, March 22, 2020 in connection to the killing of his 17-year-old cousin Sophia Hurtado. Hurtado's body was discovered in multiple burial sites across the county earlier this month. (Source: Tucson Police Department)

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Investigators with the Tucson Police Department arrested 32-year-old Gerardo Salinas in connection to the killing of his 17-year-old cousin, Sofia Hurtado, earlier this month. Hurtado had been missing since March 9 and her remains were later found at multiple burial sites across Pima County.

Salinas is being held in the Pima County Adult Detention Complex for multiple charges including first-degree murder, kidnapping and the abandonment and concealment of a body.

Hurtado was reported missing Thursday, March 19, 2020 after Salinas picked her up from Mexico, where she lived with her family, on March 15 and took her back to Tucson for a visit, according to a news release from the Tucson Police Department. During an interview, Salinas told investigators he brought Hurtado to his home, located on the 6600 block of east Calle Alegria, where he lived with his live-in girlfriend and their children.

There, Salinas invited officers inside and showed them where he said Hurtado stayed. Investigators saw what looked like dried blood and missing furniture where Hurtado supposedly slept, according to the release.

Detectives responded with a search warrant on the home. Forensic evidence showed a violent crime happened in the home and investigators found a female’s bloody clothing along with items from Salinas’s house in a nearby dumpster.

Later, investigators discovered Hurtado texted a friend March 18 saying that she felt unsafe with Salinas. The friend told Hurtado’s mother, who attempted to contact Salinas but was unsuccessful.

When Hurtado’s mother was able to call Salinas, Salinas told her Hurtado ran away. That’s when Hurtado’s mother reported the girl missing.

Detectives are still working on this investigation and encourage anyone with information to call 88-CRIME.

This story will be updated as more information becomes available.

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