Man charged in 1998 murder of Arizona girlPosted: Updated:
PHOENIX -- A man has been charged with killing a 4-year-old Arizona girl whose death was under investigation for 17 years.
Avelino Guzman Tamala, 51, was indicted last week on a murder charge in the 1998 death of Crystal Reyes.
Authorities say they were recently able to positively identify Reyes' body, which was found near the community of Mobile months after her death.
According to Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery, a series of separate and unrelated investigations by the Phoenix Police Department, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Maricopa County Attorney's Office provided pieces of information that were ultimately used to seek an indictment against Tamala.
Prosecutors declined to specify the evidence that they contend connects Tamala to the death.
Still, they say the death occurred while Tamala and the child's mother were caring for her.
Montgomery said Reyes was the victim of physical abuse, including shaving her head and forcing her to live in a dog kennel.
"Thanks to the diligence of our cold case investigation team in cooperation with our law enforcement partners, we are now able to seek justice for an innocent child whose life was inexcusably and violently cut short," Montgomery said.
A message left for Tamala's attorney, Amy Kalman, wasn't immediately returned Friday morning.
The Maricopa County Attorney's Office is seeking the public's help in locating Crystal's mother, Anna Marlene Reyes, aka Anna Marlene Somoza, 48. Authorities would like to speak with her and ask anyone with information on her whereabouts to call 602-506-3411. She entered Mexico at the San Ysidro Port of Entry in 2008 and might still be in Mexico, according to the U.S. Marshals Service.