13-Year-Old Strangled to Death for Allegedly Rejecting the Advances of Man She Met Online

Patty Alatorre at left; Armando Cruz appears in court
KERO/YouTube

Residents of Bakersfield, California, are still in shock after a teen was allegedly kidnapped, raped, and strangled to death at the hands of a man she met online. According to reports, 13-year-old Patricia Alatorre met her accused killer, Armando Cruz, online and agreed to meet him in person on July 1. But after Alatorre rejected his sexual advances, 24-year-old Cruz is believed to have killed her in a fit of rage.

  • Cruz, who is from the Inglewood section of Los Angeles, is believed to have driven two hours to meet Alatorre last Wednesday night.

    When he arrived, sometime around 11:30 p.m., the teen was alone and waiting for him at an agreed-upon location. Newly unearthed surveillance footage shows Alatorre hopping into his white pick-up truck and taking off -- unaware that these were the last moments she would be alive.

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  • According to an affidavit obtained by People, it was the second time Alatorre had met with Cruz.

    The pair initially connected on social media just one week earlier, where according to ABC affiliate KERO, they'd exchanged explicit photos of themselves. Little is known about when and where that first meeting took place, though Cruz is believed to have convinced Alatorre to meet with him to "engage in explicit acts," the outlet reports.

  • During their second encounter, things turned deadly. 

    Cruz allegedly "drove her around the block against her will as she screamed, indicating that she did not want to go with him," the affidavit states.

    Moments later, he allegedly forced himself on her. But after the teen's repeated pleas that he stop, the man reportedly held his hand over her mouth and strangled her on the seat of his pickup, sometime after midnight.

  • Details of the murder are still being pieced together by police, and are disturbingly graphic.

    Court documents allege that Cruz was initially unsure if Alatorre was dead, and began to bind her arms and legs tightly with duct tape and cover her mouth and nose in an effort to cut off her air supply.

    The documents say he continued to rape Alatorre -- twice -- after it was clear she was already dead. 

    Soon after, Cruz allegedly covered her body in lighter fluid and lit it on fire to conceal his crime, though where exactly this took place is not immediately known. Investigators have still not confirmed whether or not they've recovered the girl's remains.

  • Police eventually found Cruz.

    On Sunday, July 5, shortly after being interviewed by police, Cruz was arrested. He has since been charged with murder, kidnapping, rape by force, unlawful sexual intercourse, mutilating/ETC grave remains, and other charges. According to KBAK, he has pleaded not guilty to all counts.

  • News of the teen's death has shocked the community of Bakersfield.

    In the days since her disappearance, hundreds have turned up for nightly vigils near her home, and organizers are holding a car cruise through Bakersfield on Sunday, July 12, since the teen was a fan of cars. 

    A GoFundMe page has also been set up to help cover funeral costs and raise funds to bring her biological father from Mexico, so he can attend his daughter's funeral.

    On the page, her mother Vivianna remembers her daughter as a kind and caring soul, who always stepped in to "play the mom role" when her mother was tired or needed help. The youngest of eight children, Patricia was known as Patty or "Slim Jim" because of her tall, lanky build.

    "They classify her murder one of the worst cases they've seen," her mother lamented. "[Cruz] took our precious soul our baby she was innocent full of life. I don't want Patricia to be remembered as the 13-year-old missing girl or the case of the murdered 13-year-old, I want her to be remembered as the LOUD PATRICIA she was. She had a voice, bold personality, she was a sweet girl that would just tell you what she felt even if it was a little harsh. She always spoke the truth."