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Witness in Christopher Clements trial questions if victim was murdered

Christopher Clements in court.
Posted at 2:55 PM, Sep 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-23 17:55:42-04

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Christopher Clements is on trial for kidnapping and killing 13-year-old Maribel Gonzalez near Tucson, but on Sept. 23, Clements' defense attorney put on a witness who questioned whether Gonzalez was murdered at all.

The autopsy report from the Pima County Medical Examiner called Maribel Gonzalez's death a homicide because the circumstances were just so suspicious. She was found in a remote part of Avra Valley, northwest of Tucson, without clothes and with tires stacked on her body.

However, the autopsy could not define what killed her. It found no signs of trauma, drug overdose or illness.

A deputy Pima County Medical Examiner testified it was possible Maribel was strangled but heavy decomposition might have obscured the signs.

The first witness for Clements' defense was Doctor Rebecca Hsu. She’s in private practice but has served in the medical examiner's office for Maricopa and other counties.

She testified she would not have concluded homicide based on how the body was found.

She said it could have been homicide but heat stroke or an undetected medical condition could have caused the death, so she would have called the cause undetermined.

The defense only had one witness ready to go so the jury is excused until Tuesday.

Monday, the judge and attorneys will consider motions, including a defense effort to throw out testimony that placed Clements' cell phone near where Maribel’s body was found the night she disappeared.