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Families of Casa Grande teens relieved after arrest made in Texas

Posted at 8:41 PM, May 01, 2022
and last updated 2022-05-01 23:41:07-04

CASA GRANDE — Today the families of two Casa Grande teens are feeling relief after a suspect was arrested for the deaths of their loved ones Saturday night.

It was one week ago Sunday when 17-year-old Danielle Murrieta and 18-year-old Leslie Cota were shot multiple times.

"It's been a long road and we all understand it's going to take a long time before any of us feels any better," said Leslie's cousin, Daniel Alivez.

He knows time will help, but it won’t bring back Cota.

"My cousin, Leslie, she was really down to earth," said Alivez. "She was anything for a laugh she was just this wholehearted person."

Last Sunday police arrived the Sonoran Apartments, where Daniel said his cousin was living with her boyfriend.

Cota died at the scene, Murrieta was airlifted but later died at the hospital.

"She was beautiful inside and out, not just on the outside but she had a beautiful heart," said Danielle's mom, Janie Murrieta.

The shooting devastated the two families, as detectives searched for the shooter.

"There is some relief, you know, this guy is off the streets," said Alivez.

After days of gathering tips, police arrested 18-year-old Terreance Santistevan on Saturday.

They tracked him all the way to a city just 19 miles north of Austin, Texas.

Police say they’re pursuing murder charges and waiting for the suspect to be extradited back to Arizona.

"We have so many questions, but the good thing is he is where he belongs and hopefully one day we will get those answers," said Alivez.

As both families wait and grieve, the community came together to organize a fundraiser Sunday at Hideout Steakhouse.

Danielle and her mom both worked at the restaurant, and the owner told ABC15 the staff has struggled.

"I told all the staff we couldn't change anything, but we could step-up and understand and realize a little bit about the closeness of the family community," said Hideout owner, Todd Gillespie.

People pre-ordered over a thousand meals Sunday, donated food, and even came by Friday and Saturday when the restaurant shared part of their daily proceeds to the families.

"I know that it's not going to heal any pain or suffering, but in some way this what we can do to pay it forward," said Gillespie.

Funeral arrangements have been set for both teens.

A viewing for Danielle is planned on May 2 from 4-7 p.m. at J. Warren Funeral Services in Casa Grande, AZ. A funeral is scheduled for May 3 at 11:00 a.m. at Passion Church also in Casa Grande.

Cota's family has a visitation set for May 5 at 4:00 pm. at Valley Chapel in Eloy, AZ. Rosary and Mass is scheduled for May 6 at 10:00 a.m at St. Helen of the Cross, also in Eloy.

If anyone still wants to donate, they can call or visit Hideout Steakhouse in Casa Grande.