HOUSTON (TX) - Houston Police held a press conference today saying they now believe they know the identity of the teenage girl killed by alleged gang members.
"My partner and I met with the family yesterday, and we believe strongly that we have a good identification on the victim," said Sgt. Chris Sturdivant of the Houston Police Department Homocide Division at a press conference Friday. "I've relayed that information to the Harris County medical examiners office and it's in their hands at this point."
While Harris County waits for a confirmed ID, Jersey Village Police told FOX26 they believe the girl was runaway Gemesis Lizbeth Cornejo, reported missing in mid January.
When asked for the family's reaction, Sturdivant asked reporters, "how would you feel if your 15 year old daughter had been murdered like this?"
The victim's body was discovered in mid-February. She was fully clothed, laying in the middle of the street outside a Sharpstown apartment complex. Two bullet wounds from point-blank range were believed to be the cause of death.
22 years old Miguel Alvarez Flores and 18 year old Diego Hernandez Rivera have both been charged with kidnapping and murder. Their bond was set at $300,000 each. Police say the two confessed to involvement in the murder. Both are said by police to be members of the MS13 street gang.
"Majority of the MS13 gang members we come into contact with are in the country unlawfully. In specific terms, we've given the identity of these individuals over the homeland security who are actively investigating their immigration status," Sturdivant said Thursday.
Police say the two men were arrested during a search of an apartment in the complex where the girl's body had been found. Police say they found evidence suggesting the murder was a sacrifice to a satanic figure, but that other motives are also being investigated.
At least one other teen, age 14, has been referenced by police as being similarly held by the gang members. Her identity has not been revealed but police say she too had been reported as a runaway. Sturdivant says she, "was able to escape, but I don't want to go into details."
On Friday, Sturdivant made reference to a third possible teenage girl involved. He did not go into further detail except to say she too had escaped the clutches of men police believe to be capable of tremendous manipulation and violence.
"These are very impressionable young women, we're talking 14-15 years old, Sturdivant, "and they are with guys that are adults, and who are hardened gang members."
Police emphasized the importance of community members reporting suspected gang or criminal activity, and reminded all reports are held confidential to protect those providing the information.