By Jeremy Beren / NewsBreak Pinal County, AZ
(Casa Grande, Ariz.) — Casa Grande police on Saturday announced a breakthrough in relation to the department's double homicide investigation that began earlier in the week.
In a press release published to its official Facebook page, the Casa Grande Police Department said It has arrested 18-year-old Terrance Xavier Santistevan with assistance from the United States Marshal Service and the Pflugerville Police Department in Texas.
"I am extremely proud of the teamwork exhibited by members of our department and our law enforcement partners," Casa Grande Police Chief Mark McCrory said via press release. "Our detectives and other members of our department worked together around the clock to develop leads and simultaneously follow up on numerous tips presented during this investigation. This resulted in three members of our department traveling to Texas and assisting in the apprehension of Terrance Santistevan."
On Sunday, April 24, two teenagers — 18-year-old Leslie Cota and a 17-year-old now identified as Danielle Murrieta — were shot to death at the Sonoran Apartments in Casa Grande. Police opened an investigation and combed through a number of tips that local residents and partnering agencies provided.
CGPD detectives placed Santistevan at the scene after developing "significant leads," according to the official statement. Detectives also said the teenager "was in possession of" the silver 2006 Chrysler 300 sedan in which he is alleged to have fled.
Officials eventually learned last week that learned Santistevan had made his way to Texas. A collaborative effort between Casa Grande Police, U.S. marshals, and local law enforcement led to the 18-year-old's arrest in Pflugerville, a city roughly 20 miles northeast from the state capital of Austin.
The Pinal County Attorney's Office, led by County Attorney Kent Volkmer, will review the Casa Grande PD's recommendation of two charges of first-degree murder for Santistevan. The media release also asks members of the public to come forward with any further information — police are still on the lookout for Santistevan's Chrysler 300 bearing an Arizona license plate.
"Although this is a major piece of the investigation, there is still a lot of work to be done to prepare the best possible case for prosecution,” McCrory said.