Kyleigh Sousa Murder: Suspect Arrested and Identified. Cops Say He's No Stranger to Robbery
The suspect in the murder of Kyleigh Sousa, the 21-year-old Arizona State University student killed outside of a Tempe IHOP restaurant in May, has been identified as 20-year-old Joseluis Marquez.
Sousa was killed on May 26, when police say Marquez approached her and a friend outside of the IHOP. Marquez, police allege, grabbed Sousa's purse and drove off -- with Sousa tangled in the purse straps.
Sousa was dragged 30 feet. She sustained head and neck injuries, and later died at a Valley hospital.
Marquez, described by police as a transient, in Tempe that night to steal purses, was arrested last night at the home of a friend in Phoenix. The car he allegedly used to drag Sousa to her death, a 2008 Dodge Charger -- similar to the vehicle described by witnesses of the murder -- was also located and has been impounded by police.
According to the probable cause statement obtained by New Times, Marquez rented the car in California prior to the murder. He was spotted driving it by a traffic camera in Tempe on May 10, 16 days before Sousa was killed (see photo to the left).
Other passengers in the car at the time of the murder have been identified by police, but haven't been charged with a crime -- yet.
According to the probable cause statement, the other passengers identified Marquez as the person driving the car -- and the person who grabbed Sousa's purse -- the night of the murder.
The car, police say, is just a piece of the evidence implicating Marquez. They wouldn't elaborate on the other evidence, saying only "it's an ongoing investigation."
Police initially contacted Marquez on November 16. They say, the story he told them didn't check out.
Commander Kim Hale says the arrest is the result of "good, old-fashion police work." Although, the Tempe Police Department has come under heavy criticism over how long it took to make an arrest in the case.
But, according to Tempe Police Chief Tom Ryff, it's better to be right than on time.
"The goal was not to simply make an arrest," he says "but to make an arrest of the person who caused Kyleigh's death."
Marquez was booked on one count of first-degree murder, but, Maricopa County Attorney Bill Montgomery says, the Maricopa County Attorney's Office will review the case before officially filing any charges.
"Robbery," Hale says, "is not uncommon to Marquez." He says he doesn't know if any of those robberies occurred -- or whether Marquez had contact with police -- between the time of the murder and the time of his arrest.
Tempe Sergeant Steve Carbajal says Marquez may be responsible for other robberies in Tempe. He urges anyone who recognizes the above photo call the Tempe Police Department.
Get the ICYMI: Today's Top Stories Newsletter
Catch up on the day's news and stay informed with our daily digest of the most popular news, music, food and arts stories in Phoenix, delivered to your inbox Monday through Friday.