Law enforcement officials have confirmed that 27-year-old Alejandro Avilain is the main suspect in connection with the kidnapping and killing of the five-year-old Samantha Runnion.
Sheriff Mike Carona told reporters at a press conference, “We have confirmed that Alejandro Avila is our suspect in this case.”
That word came shortly after 6 p.m. tonight. Carona said in order to protect the integrity of the case, many aspects cannot be discussed openly. He says the “investigative process is ongoing.”
Locations where search warrants were served have included an apartment complex near Lake Elsinore, not far from where Samantha´s body was found. Before the arrest was announced, Adelina Avila had told reporters her 27-year-old son was being detained.
Samantha was playing with a friend 50 yards from her front door Monday evening when she was dragged kicking and screaming into the light green car of a man who had asked for help in finding his puppy. Her body was found the next day.
Before his arrest, Avila denied any involvement in the slaying during an interview with the Los Angeles Times and said he told detectives that he was at a mall when Samantha was kidnapped.
At the news conference, Carona thanked his colleagues in law enforcement as well as the public for its help.