Rockwall police get confession in murder of slain teen

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by MARCUS MOORE, REBECCA LOPEZ and STEVE STOLER

Bio | Email | Follow: @rlopezwfaa

WFAA

Posted on November 1, 2012 at 1:33 PM

Updated Thursday, Nov 1 at 10:23 PM

Homicide investigation

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ROCKWALL – Rockwall police said Thursday afternoon they have received a written confession from Juan Enrique Torres, a 41 year old from Belize, for the murder of 15-year-old Surie Baeza.

Torres is the estranged boyfriend of Baeza's mother, previously lived with the family for at least eight years, and is the father of Surie's seven-year-old sister. However, he had recently moved out. Police informed the mother of the arrest just before Thursday afternoon's news conference.

Police called it a "fit of rage" and said Torres and 15-year-old Surie Baeza argued over money the morning of the stabbing. Police said there was no evidence of sexual assault.

Torres called the police department Thursday afternoon and said he wanted to talk. He is currently held in the Rockwall County Jail.

"Somewhere along the interview, he made the comment that he 'wanted to come clean,'" said Sgt. Jeff Welch with the Rockwall police. "And in doing so, he started talking, and it took several hours over the interview, where he finally admitted to the detectives and made a written confession that he did, in fact, kill Surie."

Torres has a previous domestic violence arrest. Police believe they have the murder weapon in their possession.

A preliminary autopsy report said Surie Baeza, the Rockwall teen found dead in her room on Tuesday, died from multiple stab wounds.

The 15-year-old also had defensive injuries, indicating she put up a fight against her attacker.

The investigation into what happened is continuing and police have narrowed her time of death to between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. on Tuesday. She was found by her mother when she returned from work at 7 p.m.

Meanwhile, members of the Rockwall Lakes Estates neighborhood gathered for a question-and-answer session with police at the neighborhood community center. There they learned the case was solved.

"The perpetrator was the mom's ex-boyfriend," the speaker told a standing room only crowd of several hundred people.

Parents came to the community center to pray for the victim's family and get advice in helping their kids grieve. Many found solace in hearing news of the arrest.

"We now know that a murderer is not running on the streets," said Crystal Campbell, a parent.

But for Surie's friends, it brought little relief.

"It's still devastating," said Caitlyn Campbell, as tears streamed down her face.

A vigil will be held Friday night, although organizers have not said where. Surie's family is expected to be in attendance.

Enid Reyes, a minister at Lake Pointe Church in Rockwall, helped organize the gathering Thursday.

“We want to help bring some closure,” Reyes said. “I hear people saying we have to rally more, together as a community.” 

A fund has also been setup to help the Baeza family with funeral expenses at the American National Bank of Texas for people to donate to the family to cover funeral costs.

E-mail mmoore@wfaa.com

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