Kyleigh Sousa Murder: Still No Arrests after Five Months. Mom Says Police Doing All They Can

It's been exactly five months since Kyleigh Sousa, a 21-year-old student at Arizona State University, was murdered near the school's Tempe campus, and there's still no arrest in the case. There's been another unsolved murder of an ASU student, though, which has generated criticism of how the Tempe Police Department is handling the murders.

Sousa's mother, however, isn't faulting the police.

There have been news articles written about how Sousa's mother, Karen Montenegro, is unhappy with the way Tempe cops are handling her daughter's case.

Check out one such article here.

Montenegro insists that she doesn't blame the TPD.

"They're doing the best they can with what they've got," Montenegro tells New Times. "They're all fathers...they've listened to me cry while I sit at my daughter's grave. I trust them, what would my alternative be?"

Montenegro says everyone in Tempe, from the mayor, to the chief of police, to the detective working her daughter's case, has been as helpful as possible in trying to ease her pain and find out who murdered her daughter. She says she feels city officials are "united" around her.

Montenegro recently learned of the murder of another ASU student, 21-year-old Zachary Marco.

"It was heartbreaking and troubling for me and my family. We had to relive [her daughter's murder]," she says. "The Marco family has to suffer the same tragedy that we did."

She says she's spoken with Marco's father and is asking his help in implementing a new alert system at ASU -- and other large universities -- that would send an email or text message to all students whenever a violent crime occurs on campus. It would be called a Kyleigh Alert, she says.

"Who knows? This could be her legacy," Montenegro says.

Montenegro says while she's satisfied with the way the Tempe Police Department is handling the investigation, she is not happy with the fact that other students weren't alerted about what happened sooner.

She says that aside from keeping students tuned in to what's going on around them, an alert system could have helped police identify a suspect in her daughter's killing.

"A student might get an alert and say 'I was just there and saw these guys' or something," she says.

Her daughter's murder happened at 2 a.m. in a college town. She says police were shocked to find two sober witnesses. An alert system, she says, might help police find more people able to help find suspects in violent crimes.

There's also been speculation that the Tempe Police Department refused to cooperate with America's Most Wanted, which wanted to do a feature on Sousa's story. This is also false.

"We have been talking with the family about working with them on a story that will air on America's Most Wanted, that is still an option we have available to us. However, as we are actively following up on leads we are holding off on that for now," Tempe Police Sergeant Steve Carbajal tells New Times.

Montenegro says she discussed having the case featured on AMW with the show and her family. She says she's not emotionally ready to rehash the murder for a TV show.

Below is the composite of the man witnesses say killed Sousa. If he looks familiar, or you have any information about the murder, call the Tempe Police Department at (480) 966-6211.

KEEP PHOENIX NEW TIMES FREE... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
James King
Contact: James King