The Mesa Police Department announced it has arrested a man who allegedly strangled a 14-year-old girl to death more than 33 years ago.
At a press conference on Aug. 8, Mesa Police Chief Frank Milstead said DNA testing conducted by the department linked 48-year-old Angel Chris Bello to the murder of Tina Reed, who was found dead in a construction ditch near Dobson Ranch on Jan. 21, 1980.
Although Bello was also 14-years-old at the time of the murder, Mesa Police Lt. Ken Cost said he’ll be tried as an adult, and the Maricopa County Attorney’s Office indicted him on one count of first degree murder on June 20. Bello entered a not guilty plea at his arraignment on July 22.
Bello is in the midst of a 17-year prison sentence for the rape of two real-estate agents in 1986 and 1987, and Milstead said he would have been up for parole in 18 months.
“Hopefully, he’ll never see the light of day again,” he said.
Cost said the process to pick which cold cases the department pursues — he said it currently has 26 such cases assigned to nine detectives — is dependent on the evidence at hand. While he said no open homicide case is ever closed, the order the department investigates those cases is based on a review of the documents related to each case and the determination of which ones have the most evidence to work with.
Although the evidence has existed for 33 years, Cost said the technology needed to analyze it wasn’t available until now.
“It’s basically a case of technology catching up to the case,” he said.
During his comments at the press conference, Milstead noted the duration of the investigation encompassed the service tenures of multiple Mesa investigators.
“That’s probably three generations of detectives that have worked this case over the years,” Milstead said.
Milstead also announced the solving of a second cold case involving the kidnapping and sexual assault of a 14-year-old girl in 2002. The suspect, 32-year-old Diamorrio Reed, is a registered sex offender in Tennessee and will be extradited to Arizona in 2014.
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