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Tucson Child Murders: Clements a suspect more than a year before charges

Posted: 8:23 AM, Nov 08, 2019
Updated: 2019-11-08 20:17:29-05
2018-09-24 Clements Arraignment-Clements sitting.jpg
2019-09-24 Clements montage.jpg

PHOENIX, Ariz. - The man accused of killing six year old Isabel Celis and 13 year old Maribel Gonzales was back in court in Maricopa County Friday.

Tucson Police suspected Christopher Clements in the murders of 6 year old Isabel Celis and 13 year old Maribel Gonzalez at least a year and a half before he was formally charged. That came out today in Maricopa County hearings on a different case against Clements.

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KGUN9 has been following a burglary case against Clements because while he’s been in jail here on that charge, Tucson Police asked Maricopa County to search Clements cell for evidence in the child murders. A dispute over that search led to a Tucson detective testifying.

Tucson Police Detective Josh Cheek asked Maricopa County investigators to serve a search warrant on Christopher Clements cell in Maricopa County. He got a tip that Clements may have had photos of the Celis families house and might be hiding other evidence inside a Bible.

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But Maricopa County investigators also seized a collection of legal documents in Clements burglary case. They were sealed up until a neutral attorney could separate them and returned in a few days but Clements attorneys claim his attorney-client privilege in the burglary case was compromised and the case should be thrown out.

Discussing why he wanted to search Clements cell, Tucson Police Detective Josh Cheek confirmed he had been investigating Christopher Clements since at least March 2017——-18 months before Clements was indicted in the murders in September 2018.

Detective Cheek said he told the Maricopa Detective serving the warrant not to spread the word about Clements and the murder cases.

“We were limiting the people who were aware we were conducting the investigation and who were aware of the details of the investigation and I communicated that to hm on prior occasion,” Det. Cheek said. Detective Cheek said homicide detectives kept such a tight lid on the murder investigation very few in TPD knew where the murder case stood.

Other agencies investigated Clements and kept a tight seal on the case too. Detective Cheek confirmed the FBI and Pima County Deputies interviewing or gathering DNA from Clements in the months before he was formally charged.

Clements' next scheduled court appearance in Maricopa County is on Jan. 10, 2020.