Armando Cruz: Inglewood man gets life sentence for rape and murder of 13-year-old girl he met online

Armando Cruz raped Patricia Alatorre and then killed her before dousing her body in lighter fluid and setting her on fire

Armando Cruz: Inglewood man gets life sentence for rape and murder of 13-year-old girl he met online
Armando Cruz pleaded guilty to the murder and rape of 13-year-old Patricia Alatorre to avoid the death penalty (Bakersfield Police Department)
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Warning: This article contains a recollection of crime and can be triggering to some, readers' discretion advised

BAKERSFIELD, CALIFORNIA: A Los Angeles county man who pleaded guilty to raping a teenager he met online and setting her body on fire was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole. 

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Armando Cruz, 26, of Inglewood, accepted an agreement to plead guilty to murder, rape, kidnapping, and other charges on Tuesday, November 1 in exchange for a life sentence, KTLA reported. Armando met 13-year-old Patricia Alatorre from Bakersfield on Instagram in 2020, and the pair exchanged photos, Kern County prosecutors said. Armando reportedly drove from Los Angeles to Bakersfield to meet Alatorre.

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After their first meeting, the pair decided to meet again. According to court documents, Alatorre snuck out of her home for the second encounter on July 1, 2020. A neighbor's ring camera captured Alatorre leaving and showed a white Ford pickup truck in the neighborhood. Armando allegedly drove her away from their meeting place as she screamed, telling him she didn't want to go with him. She never returned, and her body was found after a few days. Reports say she was last seen on Crescent Ridge Street near Hosking Avenue & Wible Road in Bakersfield. 

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On July 5, 2020, detectives found and seized a vehicle that matched the description of a white pick-up truck that was later found registered to Armando in Inglewood. The then 24-year-old raped the teenager and then killed her before dousing her body in lighter fluid and setting her on fire. Court documents revealed she tried to get up and physically struggled with Cruz, which was when he allegedly strangled her and tied her up with duct tape. The teen's heartbroken mother, Clara Alvarez, wrote in a letter that Cruz was a “monster” who deserves to spend the rest of his days behind bars, reported the outlet.

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“This child murderer is a cruel and ugly sick-minded person who should never see the light of day ever again,” she wrote. “Any investigation involving a child as a victim and particularly when there is a death involved, it is especially horrific not just as police officers, but also as people that have families,” Robert Pair, spokesman for Bakersfield Police said. 

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