Arraignment hearing for man charged with Desiree Thompson’s murder begins

"It is a totally different suspect.”
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Posted at 10:42 PM, Apr 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-04-07 01:42:21-04

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KERO) — Ten years later the person arrested and charged in the connection with the 2012 disappearance of California City woman Desiree Thompson, faced a judge for the first time Wednesday.

Jose Lara pleaded not guilty to a first-degree murder charge. The judge also found him to be a significant danger to the public and denied bail.

Lara was arrested in March, after authorities found human remains at a home Lara used to live at during the time of Thompson’s disappearance.

The remains have not yet been identified by the coroner, but the district attorney’s office said there is enough evidence to charge Lara in connection to the crime.

“The detectives did tell me that nor her or her husband knew this person.”

Sheri Smith said January 7, 2012, was the last time anyone saw or heard from her daughter, Desiree Thompson.

“It’s a little bit shocking that it actually was not her husband. It is a totally different suspect.”

Smith said an acquaintance told her Desiree had gone to the Cactus Mini Mart in Cal City to buy cigarettes after she had been in an argument with her estranged husband that evening, but never came home.

“She was tired of dealing with the abuse, physical, mental, emotional.”

“They are 100% sure that her husband Edward had nothing, there is absolutely no connection to him in this case.”

The California City Police Department has been investigating ever since, according to the offense report, in January of this year someone who claimed to be a past friend of Lara’s notified the California City Police Department that Lara had confessed to killing a Black woman in 2012 and burying her body in the backyard of his house.

At the time, Lara lived at a home on eighty sixth street in California City.

According to the informant in the offense report, Lara said he had gotten into an argument at a party that night and waited outside to get revenge.

Lara allegedly approached individuals he was looking for, but it turned out to be a woman and invited her over for beer.

The informant adds that when they got to his house, he smashed her head into the refrigerator and stabbed her multiple times.

“I don’t know if he looked at her as prey or at something went wrong during the encounter between him and her. I have so many questions, I have no idea.”

According to the offense report, the California City Police Department obtained a search warrant for the house at eighty sixth street.

Lara no longer lives there but authorities got permission from the home’s current residents.

Investigators later found human remains in the backyard, bloodspots on the concrete underneath the carpet, clothing, hair, and other items.

“There is a lot of credible evidence. They are pretty sure this is her but they can’t prove or deny anything until the DNA is done.”

Smith said all they can do now is wait, but she is grateful for law enforcement’s help.

“It’s not the way I wanted to bring my daughter home, but I can finally bring her home and she can be home with us. We can finally bring forward justice putting the guy away for the rest of his life so he can’t hurt anyone else.”

Lara is scheduled back in court for a preliminary hearing on May 6.