19-year-old charged with murder after girlfriend found dead in trunk of car in Houston, TX

ByCourtney Fischer KTRK logo
Wednesday, November 29, 2023
19-year-old charged with murder after woman found dead in trunk of car
Family members told ABC13 the suspect was at the scene, consoling the family, for most of the day on Tuesday. He was later taken into custody for questioning and confessed, HPD said.

HOUSTON -- An arrest has been made after a family made a devastating discovery while looking for a loved one who disappeared on Tuesday. A 21-year-old woman's body was found inside the trunk of her own car in Houston, Texas.

According to court records, 19-year-old Ariel Cruz has been arrested and charged with murder. Documents say he shot and killed his girlfriend, Idania Campos.

Family members told ABC Houston affiliate KTRK that Cruz was at the scene, consoling the family, for most of the day on Tuesday while police investigated. They described Cruz as a good friend of the woman, and said he was at the family's house over the weekend. Houston police described the victim as Cruz's girlfriend.

According to Cruz's bail motion, he killed the woman because she broke up with him in the past.

The family said Cruz was taken into custody for questioning, and investigators called them early Wednesday morning to say he had confessed to his girlfriend's death and was charged with murder.

He was booked into the Harris County, Texas Jail around 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. His bond was set at $600,000.

Houston police said the woman's family tracked her phone to the Meyerland area on Tuesday, leading them to her car.

Investigators asked anyone who lives in Meyerland, to check their security cameras between 8:20 a.m. and 1:40 p.m. Tuesday.

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The woman's family told HPD they couldn't get ahold of her after they last saw her in bed around 7 a.m. and the woman's mother last spoke to her around 8:20 a.m.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Family tracks 21-year-old loved one's car to Meyerland, where body found in trunk, police say

Houston police began investigating an apparent homicide on Indigo Street in the Meyerland area on Tuesday evening.

The victim shares her phone's location with a friend, so her family used that information to track her phone down. That's when they discovered her parked car.

The family called police, but investigators said nothing seemed suspicious and the car didn't look like it had been broken into. The victim's phone was just sitting inside.

HPD officers took a missing person's report and left the scene.

"Of course, if the family thought she was in the car, of course they would have made forced entry, but at this point, they just thought it was left there. Nobody at that point thought she was inside the trunk," Lt. Alias Smith said.

Meanwhile, the woman's family stayed at the scene and called a locksmith to get inside the car. HPD said it was taking the locksmith a while to arrive, so the victim's father decided to break a window to get inside the car around 5:40 p.m.

The family popped the trunk, and that's when they discovered the woman's body. HPD then returned to the scene.

Investigators said they found blood in the trunk. HPD said the victim had signs of trauma to her face, but noted that they didn't find any shell casings at the scene.

Police did not immediately identify the victim.

Smith said it's her opinion that the woman was killed somewhere else and then left in her car on Indigo Street. Police said her family lives about 30 minutes away from the area.