Missing Florida girl's remains found 4 years after she fell prey to child pornography, mother devastated
Prosecutors are seeking the death penalty for Jorge Guerrero-Torres in the murder of Diana Alvarez
OSCEOLA COUNTY, FLORIDA: Officials have confirmed remains found in Florida as belonging to nine-year-old Diana Alvarez, who had not been seen or heard from since she disappeared from her home four years ago.
On Saturday, March 14, the Lee County Sheriff's Office announced the identification of the girl's remains, which had been uncovered by a surveyor in Osceola County a few days earlier.
"This does not bring Diana back but hopefully it brings closure to the family," Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno told a news conference.
Diana had been reported missing from her Fort Myers home on May 29, 2016, according to People, and during the subsequent investigation, the authorities narrowed in on one Jorge Guerrero-Torres as a potential suspect in her disappearance.
Guerrero-Torres used to live with Diana and her family, which included her mother Rita Hernandez and her five siblings but was kicked out after he had engaged in an "inappropriate relationship" with the nine-year-old.
Investigators searched Yeehaw Junction after tracking his phone to the area but later found the device ditched along a road in Orlando. It wasn't all for nothing, however.
They discovered pornographic images of the young girl on his phone, and in August 2018, he was sentenced to 40 years in prison after being convicted on charges connected to child pornography.
Hernandez gave her daughter an emotional tribute after her death was confirmed and told reporters she had been holding on to the hope that the nine-year-old was alive somewhere.
"I have to go without a birthday," she said. "Another year without a birthday. I don’t wish this upon anybody, on nobody because it wasn't her fault."
"What she suffered and what she lived in those moments, I don’t wish that upon nobody," she added.
Guerrero-Torres had already been indicted on a first-degree murder charge in Diana's case and was awaiting trial for the same. The discovery of Diana's remains will provide prosecutors with further evidence of his involvement in her death. State attorney Amira Fox has confirmed her team will be seeking the death penalty.
As for Hernandez, she said she wants everyone to share her daughter's picture when her birthday comes up in May because it was "all I have left of her."
"My daughter is in heaven," she said. "She's with God."