19-year-old woman's ex consoled family before police charged him with her murder

Wednesday, November 29, 2023
Woman's ex consoled family before police charged him with her murder
Ariel Cruz, 19, is charged with murder after 21-year-old Idania Campos was found dead in the trunk of her car, parked on Indigo Street in Meyerland.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- An arrest has been made after a family made a devastating discovery while looking for a loved one who disappeared on Tuesday.

A 21-year-old woman's body was found inside the trunk of her own car in the Meyerland area.

According to court records, 19-year-old Ariel Cruz has been arrested and charged with the murder of Idania Campos. Documents say he shot and killed her.

Family members told ABC13 that Cruz was at the scene, consoling the family, for most of the day on Tuesday while police investigated. They described Cruz as a good friend of Campos, who were once an item, adding that he was at the family's house over the weekend. Houston police described the victim as Cruz's girlfriend.

According to Cruz's bail motion, he reportedly told investigators he killed Campos because she broke up with him in the past.

"So I guess because he couldn't have her, he didn't want us to have her either," Bobbie Munoz, Campos' aunt, said.

The family said Cruz was taken into custody for questioning, and investigators called them early Wednesday morning to say he had confessed to Campos' death and was charged with murder.

He was booked into the Harris County Jail at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday. His bond was set at $600,000.

Houston police said the Campos family tracked her phone to the Meyerland area on Tuesday, leading them to her car.

Investigators asked anyone who lives in Meyerland, specifically along Indigo Street near Braesmont Drive, to check their security cameras for video captured between 8:20 a.m. and 1:40 p.m. Tuesday.

The family told HPD they couldn't get ahold of her after Campos' mother last spoke to her at about 8:20 a.m.

ORIGINAL REPORT: Family tracks 21-year-old loved one's car to Meyerland, where body found in trunk, police say

Houston police began investigating an apparent homicide on Indigo Street in the Meyerland area on Tuesday evening.

Campos shared her phone's location with a friend, so her family used that information to track her phone down. That's when they discovered her car parked in the 5400 block of Indigo Street in Meyerland.

The family called the police, but investigators said nothing seemed suspicious, and the car didn't look like it had been broken into. Campos' phone was just sitting inside.

HPD officers took a missing person's report and left the scene.

"Of course, if the family thought she was in the car, of course, they would have made forced entry, but at this point, they just thought it was left there. Nobody at that point thought she was inside the trunk," Lt. Alias Smith said.

Meanwhile, the victim's family stayed at the scene and called a locksmith to get inside the car. HPD said it was taking the locksmith a while to arrive, so the victim's father decided to break a window to get inside the car at about 5:40 p.m.

Jenna Gonzalez, who lives nearby, said she just knew something wasn't right.

"'Here's a bat. Here's a towel.' So we broke the window open, unlocked the car. I popped the trunk, and there she was, just laying there," Gonzalez said. "There was no way to save her. There was too much blood."

The family told ABC13 that Cruz was also there and involved himself in the search.

HPD then returned to the scene.

Investigators said they found blood in the trunk. HPD said Campos had signs of trauma to her face but noted that they didn't find any shell casings at the scene.

Lt. Smith said it's her opinion that Campos was killed somewhere else and then left in her car on Indigo Street. In court on Wednesday afternoon, a hearing officer said Cruz is accused of shooting and killing Campos at a nearby shopping center and put her in the trunk. Police said her family lives about 30 minutes away from the area.

Gonzalez, still reeling from the last 24 hours, said the only thing she wants is to see that "justice is served for Idania."

Campos' family has set up a GoFundMe to help pay for her memorial service.