Police arrested an Oxnard man Tuesday morning as the principal suspect in the slaying of aspiring mariachi singer Gloria De la Cruz, 10 months after the 18-year-old’s body was found in a trash receptacle in Los Angeles’ Wilshire district.
Corey Len Robinson, 26, who police believe operated an escort service and was an acquaintance of the Oxnard teenager, was taken into custody without incident by Ventura County sheriff’s detectives at a duplex on Princeton Avenue in Oxnard.
“There was a relationship of some kind [between them], what it was we’re not exactly sure,” said Los Angeles Police Det. Ron Reiser, coordinator of the Wilshire precinct’s homicide unit. “We don’t know what she was doing for him--if in fact she worked for him. . . . It seemed like she was moving in those kinds of circles--the nightclub, entertainment type groups.”
De la Cruz had initially met Robinson through a help-wanted newspaper ad he placed for his escort service, Reiser said.
Robinson had not been booked into jail on suspicion of murder Tuesday evening, but Reiser expected that would occur later that night.
Police had sought Robinson for about 1 1/2 months, after a judge had issued a warrant for his arrest, Reiser said. An anonymous tip eventually led police to the home where he was staying.
“We felt that he had something to do with this crime and he wasn’t forthcoming in coming to talk to us,” Reiser said.
De la Cruz disappeared from her El Rio home in April and her body was found in a trash bin a day later. It took authorities 17 days to identify her body and notify her mother, who had angrily criticized police for their slow response.
But on Tuesday, Gloria De la Cruz’s mother praised police for their work.
“I’m so grateful to the detectives that they did not give up on me or my daughter,” she said, sobbing. “I feel some relief to a certain point. It’s a load to get off of my shoulders.”
De la Cruz said that she had met Robinson twice, the first time when her daughter introduced him to her on Easter Sunday just a few weeks before her death.
“He seemed like a nice, friendly, clean-cut guy,” she said. “She never said how she met him.”
The police investigation involved as many as eight detectives talking with hundreds of people since last spring, Reiser said.
“We have four or five three-ring binders on this case,” he said.
Reiser countered complaints that Los Angeles police put additional effort into De la Cruz’s murder only because of her mother.
“If we put more people on it, it’s because we were conducting a long-distance investigation and it’s time-consuming,” he said.
But De la Cruz on Tuesday said she believes her pressure on authorities may have spurred them to not simply file the case away as unsolved.
“I think they felt I was not going to go away,” she said. “The biggest question I’ve had all these months is the why. And I’m praying to God that finally I’ll be able to know the why and the where and the how.”