Accused serial killer Cleophus Cooksey Jr. sits in a Phoenix, Arizona jail cell and three women have been arrested for allegedly tampering with the investigation. We have all the information to get you up to date on this case.
Tip of the Iceberg
Cleophus Cooksey Jr., 35, was arrested by Phoenix police after they responded to a call about shots being fired on December 17, 2017.
Police arrived at the home of Cooksey’s mother Rene Cooksey and stepfather Edward Nunn. Both his mother and stepfather had been shot dead. Cleophus Cooksey Jr. was found at the scene with a weapon and blood on his clothes.
Little did detectives know that these murders were just the tip of the iceberg.
A Three-Week Rampage
When he was arrested, Cleophus Cooksey Jr. was only a suspect in two murders. But when officials retrieved ballistics evidence from the gun that Cooksey had been found with, they were shocked to discover that he was allegedly connected with seven other murders.
The additional victims are: Latorrie Beckford; Kristopher Cameron; Jesus Bonifacio Real, brother of Cooksey’s ex-girlfriend; Andrew Remillard; Salim Richards; Parket Smith; and Maria Villanueva.
Some of the victims were lured to their deaths, including Cameron, who police suspect was contacted under the guise of a drug deal. Villanueva, on the other hand, was kidnapped and sexually assaulted before being murdered.
According to police, the murder rampage started on November 27, 2017. If Cooksey is found guilty of these slayings, he would be one of the most prolific serial killers in Arizona history.
The charges against Cooksey now include nine counts of homicide, seven counts of prohibited possession of a firearm, one count of sexually motivated kidnapping, one count of theft of a firearm, and one count of armed robbery with a deadly weapon.
An Interesting Twist
Three women—Liliana Vasquez, her sister Griselda Vasquez, and Desaree Coronado—have been arrested for allegedly tampering with and hindering the Cooksey investigation.
Liliana is Cooksey’s ex-girlfriend. Liliana and Griselda are the sisters of Real, one of Cooksey’s alleged victims. Coronado is reportedly the mother of Real’s child. Liliana and Griselda were living with Real at the time of his murder.
Upon discovering the body of her brother in an apartment, police allege that Liliana did not immediately report the murder. Instead, it’s believed that she later returned to the apartment with her sister and Coronado.
Police said Griselda admitted to taking the cell phone off Real’s body before police arrived on December 11 and giving it to Coronado.
Police have also stated that evidence points to Liliana possibly driving Cleophus Cooksey Jr. to and from the scenes of two murders.
We will continue to monitor this story as it develops.