Authorities Arrest Person Of Interest In Carina Saunders' Murder


Wednesday, December 21st 2011, 12:37 am
By: News 9


U.S. Marshals, along with the Oklahoma City Police Department's Gang Unit, have arrested a man who authorities say is a person of interest in Carina Saunders' murder.

12/20/2011 Related Story: Bethany Police Arrest Man, Seek Person Of Interest In Carina Saunders Murder

According to officials, Francisco Gomez was arrested Tuesday evening at a house, located in the 600 block of S.E. 31st Street in Oklahoma City.

U.S. Marshals said they received a tip that Gomez was at an acquaintance's house. He came out of the house peacefully after authorities called him out. Investigators did find a small amount of drugs at the house.

During a press conference Tuesday, Bethany police named Gomez a person of interest in this case because they believe Gomez has crucial information in the 19-year-old woman's murder.

U.S. Marshals said they were already conducting a fugitive investigation on Gomez, for an outstanding warrant for drug trafficking.

"We were already searching for Mr. Gomez. With the newly released information that he was a person of interest, our search intensified," said Callen Stephens, Deputy of U.S. Marshals. "We were able to interview several different people regarding possible locations. "

Stephens said Gomez was booked in the Oklahoma County Jail on the drug trafficking warrant out of Oklahoma County.

Saunders' dismembered body was found in October, stuffed in a duffel bag behind a Homeland grocery store in Bethany.

10/17/2011 Related Story: Body Found In Duffel Bag In Bethany Identified As Missing Teen

Police arrested 33-year-old Jimmy Lee Massey Tuesday morning on a complaint of first-degree murder in the 19-year-old woman's death. He was also arrested on complaints of kidnapping and assault and battery for the abduction of an unknown witness.

12/20/2011 Related Story: Witness In Carina Saunders' Murder Says She Fears For Her Life

Police said they managed to locate the female witness who told them on the night of October 9, she was standing on the street outside of a northwest Oklahoma City house when a man drove up in a vehicle, opened the door, and forced her inside.

The woman said a man blindfolded her with a dark handkerchief and drove her to an unknown location. She told police she was taken to a room and forced to watch the torture of a woman. She said she didn't know who the victim was until the woman was later identified on the news as Carina Saunders.

According to court documents, police determined Massey was the man who kidnapped the witness.