A 53-year-old man has been convicted in the murder of a 3-year-old girl nearly two decades ago.
According to the Maricopa County Attorney's Office, Avelino Guzman Tamala was found guilty of first-degree murder after a long investigation into the death of Crystal Reyes.
After partial skeletal remains were found in 1998, it took until 2014 for investigators to positively identify them as those of 3-year-old Reyes.
Investigators learned that Reyes, born in 1993, lived with her grandmother in Mexico before she was brought to the United States to live with her mother. While living with her mother, Reyes had reportedly been abused and was forced to live in a dog kennel, according to officials. It is believed that she was killed in April 1997 and was buried in a remote area near Mobile, Ariz.
Several local and federal agencies linked the case to Tamala, a man who was living with her mother at the time of her disappearance.
Tamala's sentencing is set for December 9, 2016.
Officials are still looking for the victim's biological mother, 50-year-old Anna Marlene Reyes, who may also go by the name of Anna Marlene Somoza.
If you have any information, contact MCAO at 602-506-3411.