Documents refer to ‘murder’ of Diana Alvarez

Newly released documents from the state attorney’s office make reference to the “murder” of Diana Alvarez.

The disappearance of the San Carlos Park girl is still being treated by authorities as a missing person’s case, but the findings represent the first time the term “murder” has been formally used in relation to the girl, who was 9 when she vanished on May 29, 2016.

“This is a classic case where a child was abducted and possibly the worst may have happened to her,” said Walt Zalisko, a private investigator hired by Diana’s family.

MORE: Diana Alvarez in mind on Florida Missing Children’s Day in Tallahassee

The documents detail an interview the Lee County Sheriff’s Office conducted with Juan Laverde, an inmate who spent time in jail with 29-year-old Jorge Guerrero of Mexico, the only suspect in the child’s disappearance.

Laverde told sheriff’s investigators Guerrero asked him how much time he’d face for “the murder charge.” Guerrero told Laverde he thought he’d be charged for rape, kidnapping and murder, Laverde said.

The Lee County Sheriff’s Office is pursuing charges of lewd or lascivious molestation and battery of a child against Guerrero, who is appealing his conviction of producing and possessing lewd images of Diana.

Laverde also told investigators Guerrero opened up about what happened the night Diana vanished, confessing he wanted to take her to Mexico. But that plan was derailed when Guerrero crashed his car in Central Florida, Laverde said.

Based on their conversation, Laverde said, he believes Guerrero panicked and got “rid” of Diana before police could arrive.

“That’s how most murderers get caught,” Zalisko said.

It’s possible, even though no body has been found, that Guerrero could be charged with murder at some point, according to Zalisko.

“It really depends on what evidence the prosecutor has right now,” he said. “There have been cases in the United States where people have been convicted of murder and there’s no body.”

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