The Phillips & Associates Oklahoma Law Blog


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By Dustin Phillips on
July 6, 2012
December 31, 2019

It is perhaps the most shocking crime to face the small community of Bethany, Oklahoma. �The dismembered body of a young woman was found in a duffel bag, lying in a field beside a local Homeland grocery story. �The body was identified as that of 19-year-old Carina Saunders of Mustang. �Police initially suspected a young culinary student who had pawned his knives and disappeared in the days before her body was found; however, he was soon cleared of any involvement. �The case has been fraught with complications, as police identified many of Saunders' associates as connected with drugs and prostitution, and therefore unwilling to cooperate with police. �A November drug arrest, however, shed some light into Saunders' death, and now, nearly nine months after the discovery of her body, police have arrested a suspect in the murder of Carina Saunders.Though Bethany police have not released further details of the arrest, they have reported that Luis E. Ruiz, 37, of Oklahoma City, was arrested at approximately 1:00 p.m. for the murder of Carina Saunders. �According to Ruiz's brother, the suspect was allegedly part of a drug ring and may have been involved with prostitution. �Ruiz has a criminal record involving drug arrests, vandalism, and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.Prior to Ruiz's arrest, police reported that they were considering a number of suspects involved in drug trafficking and human trafficking.The initial break in the case came in November, when a man arrested on drug complaints told police he may have information about the Saunders murder. �Jimmy Lee Massey, 33, told police that he kidnapped a woman and forced her to watch as Saunders was murdered. �The woman, who is a confidential witness, told police that Carina Saunders was tortured and murdered by members of a human trafficking ring in order to send a message to her and others to cooperate with their activities.Massey and Francisco Gomez, 32, another person of interest in the case, have remained jailed on other charges since December 2011, but as of this writing, neither has been charged with Saunders's murder. �However, an Oklahoma violent crimes lawyer for another person of interest, Alejandro Rojas, said in June that charges could shortly be filed against Rojas, Massey, Gomez, and two other individuals, Edgar Gonzales-Olivas and Luis Soto. �While these men are all currently being held on other charges, at this time, Luis Ruiz is the only person who has been charged with the murder of Carina Saunders.


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