Stories of the year: Dramatic end to two cold cases - Isabel Celis, Maribel Gonzales

Top stories of 2018: Cold cases Isabel Celis, Maribel Gonzales

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - We continue to count down the stories of the year in southern Arizona - the ones that resonated with you and that you reacted to on TucsonNewsNow.com.

Without a doubt, the number one story of the year is the dramatic end to two cold cases.

It was the search for the murderer of two young girls. The announcement came in September.

"Prosecutors and all of law enforcement never gave up the hunt for the killer of these two little girls. The cases went unsolved but they were never closed,” Pima County Attorney Barbara LaWall said during a news conference.

Christopher Clements, who was already in jail in Maricopa County on unrelated charges, was charged with the murders.

6-year-old Isabel Celis disappeared in 2012, though her body was found several years later. 13-year-old Maribel Gonzales disappeared in 2014 and she was found days after her disappearance. Both bodies were found in the same area - near Trico Road and Avra Valley Road, while police across the state had combed through thousands of tips.

Years passed, with no breaks in the case, until suddenly it was announced law enforcement had their man.

Maribel’s mother described the mixed emotions when she heard the news. “You can’t believe it. You’re like in shock for a while. You’re happy but then you’re sad," she said. "You just have questions. I mean it’s like a rollercoaster of all kinds of emotions.”

Clements had a history of sex crimes in Florida. He actually told law enforcement he knew information about these cases - in an attempt to get out of other non-related charges.

He remains in jail, and his next court date is in February as he move towards a trial.

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