Arrest made in 20-year-old case of murdered teen

PHOENIX, AZ – Twenty years after the tragic murder of 15-year-old Elena Lasswell, Phoenix police have announced a breakthrough in the cold case. On Wednesday, detectives arrested 37-year-old Sergio Reyes, who was extradited from Mexico to face charges related to the crime.

Reyes has been booked into a Phoenix jail on multiple felony charges, including sexual assault and first-degree murder. “This is a significant day not just for the Phoenix Police Department but, more importantly, for Elena’s family,” said Detective Dominick Roestenberg in a department-released video. “They have been waiting two decades for justice.”

Elena Lasswell was discovered dead in her bedroom on the evening of July 10, 2004, at a residence near 23rd Avenue and Thomas Road. At the time, police identified a suspect described as a young man between 16 and 19 years old, who visited her that evening and drove a dark green or black four-door sedan. Despite efforts, including a flyer and reward from Silent Witness, the case went cold.

In 2012, cold case detectives revisited the investigation using advanced DNA collection techniques, which led to a profile matching Reyes. By March 2013, the DNA evidence confirmed Reyes as the primary suspect. A Maricopa County grand jury indicted him a year later, but Reyes was living in Mexico, complicating the extradition process.

The U.S. Marshals Service played a crucial role in locating Reyes, and after years of persistent efforts, he was finally brought back to the United States to face charges. “It took time, but through perseverance, hard work, and dedication, we were able to bring Sergio Reyes back to face justice,” Roestenberg added.