As family grieves, experts weigh in on defense strategy for accused Alvarez killer

Posters of Diana Alvarez were plastered all over Fort Myers nearly two years ago.

The memorial outside of her neighborhood grew and grew, as the search for the 9-year-old seemed to dwindle. And now, the family’s worst nightmare came true.

The state attorney’s office officially charged Jorge Guerrero with first degree murder Thursday. This comes as he’s already serving a 40-year sentence for having inappropriate pictures of Diana on his phone.

MORE: Grand jury indicts Jorge Guerrero-Torres for murder of Diana Alvarez

The thought of what Diana went through in 2016 is something that continues to haunt her family.

“She says I’d rather know what’s going on, (but) it’s hard. It’s very difficult to not know whether she ate or didn’t eat,” said Rita Hernandez, Diana’s mother.

A former inmate who met Guerrero in an Okeechobee jail told investigators he asked how much time he’d spend in prison for “the murder charge.”

He also said no one would be able to find Diana as she was “gone.”

Defense attorney Lance Dunford is not affiliated with this case, but said that because there’s no body, the defense might try to throw out the murder charge.

“What I would expect is for him to enter a term of not guilty, which would initiate the discovery process. The discovery process means everything in the state attorney’s office would be used against him, just be turned over to him and his attorney,” Dunford said.

But they also might be trying to get Guerrero to confess.

“You’d like to think this may be a tactic to try and find some closure for the family,” Dunford said.

He adds that the state attorney’s office must be confident in their findings to bring in a grand jury to indict Guerrero.

The Peace River search and rescue team says they will still continue their search for Diana.

Guerrero will have his first appearance Friday.