RUPERT - The Minidoka County Magistrate Court arraigned murder suspect Christopher Cruz, 21, Tuesday morning.
Cruz, who is being held at the Mini-Cassia Criminal Justice Center, met with court officials via video. Edinburg, Texas, officials recently extradited Cruz back to Minidoka County after he and his girlfriend, Stephanie Pauline Juarez, 32, were found there. The two allegedly fled following the murder of Craig Glen Short, 36, of Heyburn.
The Minidoka County Sheriff’s office has charged Cruz with the first degree murder of Short and the attempted murder in the first degree of Jared McNeil, of Paul. The sheriff’s office has also charged Juarez with hindering apprehension.
The sheriff’s office alleges that Cruz murdered Short on August 2. While the sheriff’s office has been mum about how Short died, residents reported hearing gunfire the day Short died. By the time police arrived, Cruz and Juarez had fled and left the state, allegedly with the help of Christopher Ray Van Every and Gisela Garcia. The suspects drove 1730 miles to Edinburg where they rented a home. Shortly after, the owner asked them to leave, and the couple later holed up at a Motel 6 – just a block away from Edinburg law enforcement headquarters.
Should Cruz be convicted, he faces 10 years to life in prison. The Minidoka County Prosecutor’s office could also seek the death penalty if it believes the punishment fits the crime. It wasn’t clear what kind of jail time the other suspects might receive.
It took Snarr’s office just over a month to track down Cruz and Juarez. During that time, the Sheriff’s office received numerous tips on the pair. It’s not known why the suspects went to Edinburg.