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Affidavit: Man admits to pushing woman into Trinity River in 2013 drowning first ruled accidental

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office originally ruled Sarah McKinney's death as an accidental drowning.
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A 31-year-old man is facing a murder charge after Fort Worth police said he admitted to causing the drowning death of his former girlfriend in 2013. 

Sarah McKinney, who was 18 years old when she died, was pushed off a bridge into the Trinity River by Justin Azocar, according to an arrest warrant affidavit. 

The Tarrant County Medical Examiner's Office originally ruled McKinney's death as an accidental drowning. However, detectives said in a July 2020 interview with detectives, Azocar allegedly gave details of how he killed McKinney. 

According to the affidavit, a suspect in an unrelated case told detectives Azocar admitted to him of killing McKinney. 

Detectives interview Azocar in September 2014

In a September 2014 interview, Azocar told police that he and McKinney were previously dating. He said around the end of July 2013, McKinney went to the store and never returned, according to police documents.

Azocar said he found out the next morning that McKinney was dead in the Trinity River. 

In the 2014 interview, Azocar pointed police to a man named "Cloud," as the person responsible for McKinney's death, the affidavit says. He told police "Cloud" pushed her off a bridge into the river even after she said she couldn't swim.

According to court documents, Azocar claimed he confronted Cloud and then beat him up. Azocar told police everyone knew McKinney couldn’t swim.

Detectives said they researched a police database in efforts to find a photo of Cloud, however, they were unable to locate anyone with that nickname.

Authorities then asked Azocar if he would be willing be take a polygraph test to confirm his claims. Officials said the results of the polygraph were inconclusive.

Azocar allegedly admits to killing McKinney

On July 27, 2020, patrol officers were called to the 1300 block of Amanda Avenue in reference to an unconscious person.

First responders identified that person as Azocar. According to the affidavit, Azocar told the responding officer that he killed his girlfriend in 2013 near the Panther Island Pavillon.

Azocar was receiving medical attention at John Peter Smith Hospital at the time, so the officer said he would interview Azocar upon his release.

During that interview, Azocar said he and McKinney had allegedly gotten into an argument before he pushed her into the river, according to the affidavit.

Azocar said McKinney was sitting on the handrail of the bridge and that he intentionally pushed her. He also allegedly told detectives he "didn’t mean to push her hard enough to where she would fall in" and claimed he wasn’t sure if she knew how to swim, according to police documents. 

Azocar said he made up the name Cloud and blamed the murder on him because in a way he was trying to admit that he did it, the affidavit states.