BAKERSFIELD, Calif. — Armando Cruz, the man suspected of killing a missing 13-year-old Bakersfield girl, pleaded not guilty to 12 felony charges Tuesday, including first-degree murder, kidnapping, and rape.
The Kern County District Attorney filed charges against 24-year-old Tuesday.
The charges also include aggravated sexual assault, and contacting a minor with intent to commit sexual assault.
The filing of the charges come several days after Patricia Alatorre went missing Wednesday night from her South Bakersfield neighborhood near Cresent Ridge Street.
Cruz, an Inglewood resident was arrested by Bakersfield police Sunday night in the Los Angeles area after authorities located his pick-up truck that was seen leaving Alatorre's neighborhood at the time she disappeared.
Cruz was arraigned at the Kern County Superior Court Tuesday afternoon.
On Monday night, the community held a vigil near the neighborhood where Alatorre was last seen.
"She was always laughing. She was always joking around. She always had a smile on her face, if you were having a bad day she would make you feel better," said Deila Estrella, a friend of Alatorre.
Neighbors living in the area now saying they have been on edge since Alatorre's disappearance.
Police are still investigating if Alatorre and Cruz knew each other and how they came into contact. Anyone with information is asked to call BPD at 327-7111.