Former girlfriend of accused child killer Christopher Clements’ continues testimony in murder trial

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) – The first murder trial of accused Tucson child killer 40-year-old Christopher Clements continued Thursday, Sept. 15, with more testimony from his former girlfriend.

Clements is facing several charges for allegedly kidnapping and killing 6-year-old Isabel Celis in 2012 and 13-year-old Maribel Gonzalez in 2014. The current trial is for Maribel’s death. Clements will face a jury for Isabel’s death next year.

The trial started last week with jury selections but kicked into high gear Tuesday and Wednesday with opening statements and witness testimony.

GF Default - Man indicted in deaths of Isabel Celis and Maribel Gonzales
GF Default – Man indicted in deaths of Isabel Celis and Maribel Gonzales

THURSDAY TESTIMONY

Melissa Stark, Clements’ former girlfriend, returned to the stand Thursday.

Stark said she and Clements were living together in the 5800 block of East Elida Street in 2014. That is about two miles from where Maribel went missing, the Broadway and Wilmot area.

On Wednesday, Stark testified she had a “huge argument” with Clements the night Maribel went missing. She said she accused him of being interested in one of her friends.

She said after the argument, Clements left and came back asking for bleach. He then allegedly left again in her vehicle before coming back with more bleach. She said he left yet again in his vehicle and stayed out all night.

When he did return, she said he took a shower, and asked her to clean despite recently giving birth.

On Thursday, she was cross-examined by the defense.

PREVIOUS COVERAGE

DISAPPEARED IN THE DESERT

KOLD has been covering the case for years. In 2021, we released an award-winning podcast called Disappeared in the Desert.

KOLD News Presents "Disappeared In The Desert"

CLEMENTS’ CRIMINAL HISTORY

  • In 1993, Clements was accused of molesting a very young child but was never charged.
  • In 1998, he was convicted of first-degree sexual abuse in Oregon.
  • In 2002, he was convicted of identity theft and assault in Washington.
  • In 2006, he was convicted of failure to register as a sex offender in Florida.
  • In 2007, he was convicted of failure to register as a sex offender in Oregon.
  • In late 2007, he was charged with false reporting in Tucson after allegedly giving a police officer a fake name.
  • In 2011, he registered as a sex offender and was living at a home in the 1900 block of South Craycroft Road.
  • In 2012, he registered as a sex offender and was living at a home in the 5800 block of East Elida Street.
  • In 2013, he was charged with living too close to a school as a sex offender.
  • In 2015, he was arrested on charges of pimping and child abuse but the charges were later dismissed.
  • In June 2016, he was arrested in connection with a burglary in Tucson.
  • In January 2017, he was arrested in connection with a burglary in Maricopa County.
  • In February 2017, he contacts the FBI alleging he has information on Isabel Celis’ body.
  • In March 2017, he leads federal agents to human remains near North Trico and West Avra Valley roads. DNA testing revealed the remains are from Isabel Celis.
  • In September 2018, he was indicted on 22 counts in connection with the deaths of Isabel and Maribel. He would later plead not guilty to all charges.
  • In April 2022, he was convicted in the Maricopa County burglary case.
  • In June 2022, he was sentenced to more than 30 years for the Maricopa County burglary case.
  • In September 2022, he went on trial for the death of Maribel.
  • In February 2023, he is set to go on trial for the death of Isabel.

ISABEL CELIS TIMELINE

  • April 20, 2012: Isabel Mercedes Celis went to bed in her bedroom.
  • April 21, 2012: Around 8 a.m., family members call 911 after they discover she is not in the house.
  • April 22, 2012: FBI search dogs arrive from Virginia to aid in the search.
  • April 23, 2012: Celis family and 88-CRIME post a $6,000 reward.
  • March 2017: Human remains were discovered near North Trico and West Avra Valley roads in rural Pima County.
  • March 31, 2017: DNA analysis confirms remains are those of Isabel Celis.
  • Sept. 15, 2018: Authorities announce the indictment of Christopher Matthew Clements in Isabel’s death.

MARIBEL GONZALES TIMELINE

  • June 3, 2014: Maribel Gonzales leaves home to walk and visit a friend.
  • June 4, 2014: Gonzales was reported missing by her family after she failed to come home.
  • June 6, 2014: Human remains were discovered near North Trico and West Avra Valley roads in rural Pima County.
  • June 20, 2014: DNA analysis confirms remains are those of Maribel Gonzales.
  • Sept. 15, 2018: Authorities announce the indictment of Christopher Matthew Clements in Maribel’s death.

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