PHOENIX — A man has been arrested in connection with a dead body found in sewer pipes in South Phoenix in July 2016.
On Monday morning, police arrested Francisco Antonio Fuentes, 25, near 7th Avenue and Jefferson Street.
In July 2016, Phoenix police responded to the area of 55th Drive and Dobbins Road after water department employees reported finding human remains that were causing sewer problems. The neighborhood street was closed for nearly 18 hours while police investigated.
Phoenix police Officer James Holmes said the city water department got a call from a resident in the area saying the sewage lines were backed up. The Water Department sent crews to investigate, and in an 8-inch pipe underground on Gwen Street, city crews made a disturbing discovery of human remains. Police called this a very complicated investigation. The Water Department used sophisticated technology like drain pipe cameras to look through the 8-inch pipe for evidence.
"This is a first for us. I talked to the homicide detectives, and unfortunately, we've pulled bodies out of canals before, but nothing like this," Holmes said at the time.
The Maricopa County Medical Examiner later determined the remains belonged to 38-year-old Victor M. Carillo-Gamez, and the case was ruled a homicide.
Investigators learned that on March 18, 2015, the victim went to visit Fuentes near 16th and Oak streets but was not seen again. The Phoenix Fire Department responded to a vehicle fire in the area. The car reportedly belonged to the victim. Inside the vehicle, police say they found boxing straps, men's clothing, and duct tape.
Fuentes was questioned by police but he told them he was unaware of the victim's location.
Police say a few days later, Fuentes fled to Mexico, allegedly telling his girlfriend that he had killed someone. She also reportedly saw that the hair on Fuentes' leg was singed.
Investigators say phone data placed the victim's and Fuentes' phones in the same area at the time of the murder.
Prosecutors say Fuentes made a return trip to Arizona in November 2018 and was arrested for speeding, drug possession, and possession of a stolen handgun. Police say he had $8,000 in cash in his vehicle at the time. He was charged in this case but fled back to Mexico.
He is now being held on a $500,000 cash bond for first-degree murder.