Saturday, November 12, 2022

The Disappearance and Murder of Zoe Campos

Image result for zoe campos"

18-year-old Zoe Campos disappeared from Lubbock, Texas on November 17th, 2013. Earlier that night, Zoe and her sister Savannah went out to dinner before returning to Zoe’s apartment to watch a movie. After that, Zoe told Savannah that she was going to hang out with a friend before going to pick their mother up from work. Around 1:30 AM, Zoe texted her mother to let her know that she was on her way to pick her up. However, Zoe never showed up and was never seen or heard from again.

Three days later, Zoe’s aunt spotted an unknown man driving Zoe’s car. She attempted to follow the car before eventually losing sight of it. A short while later, the car was found abandoned at an apartment complex on Utica Ave. 

After speaking to Savannah, investigators learned that Zoe apparently planned to meet up with a man named Carlos Rodriguez on the evening of November 17th. Phone records corroborate this as well; the last phone call on Zoe’s phone was with a ‘Carlos Rodriguez.’ Savannah did not know this person, and the nature of Zoe’s relationship with Carlos was unknown to Zoe’s family and friends. 

Police were able to locate and question Carlos—he said that he and Zoe were ‘acquaintances’ who met up that night to smoke marijuana. Carlos told police that when Zoe showed up at his home, he realized that he did not have any marijuana, so Zoe left to go retrieve some—but never returned.

Carlos was initially not charged with anything related to Zoe's disappearance. Zoe's family feared she might have been trafficked. Meanwhile, Carlos stayed on the police's radar and ended up getting arrested in 2017 for an unrelated stalking charge. 

Years passed without any leads in Zoe's case, until 2018 when, investigators received a tip that led them to searching a backyard of a home in Lubbock. During said search, a bone was reportedly found. It was later revealed that the bone was found on property close to Carlos' family's old home. Then, exactly five years to the day of Zoe's disappearance, Carlos was arrested and charged with her murder. 

The road to justice was a long one for Zoe Campos and her loved ones. It took years, but as the case unfolded, the truth about what happened was finally revealed.

Carlos Rodriguez. (source: Everything Lubbock)

The phone calls.

Carlos' arrest warrant revealed that investigators had questioned him again from behind bars in November 2018 after the bone was found near his property. It turns out that the bone belonged to an animal, but Carlos was questioned before the origin of the bone was revealed–and he requested a lawyer after said questioning. In a jail phone call, Carlos was reportedly heard saying that he told somebody what happened to Zoe and that person had “snitched” on him. 

The confessions. 

Eventually, Carlos confessed to killing Zoe. He told investigators that, after the two of them smoked synthetic marijuana together, he “lost control” and strangled Zoe. Carlos later buried her in his backyard. After this confession, search teams returned to his property. During said search, Zoe’s remains were found and later identified. 

In July 2019, Carlos wrote a handwritten letter detailing Zoe's murder. In the letter, he wrote, "after five years of fear, guilt and shame I can finally make peace with myself and God. I want the people in my community and on social media to know not just part of the truth, but the whole truth." 

Carlos then went on to explain that he met Zoe on November 17th, 2013. He was attracted to her initially and invited her to come over to his house that evening. By his account, the two had sexual relations in his bedroom before smoking K2 synthetic marijuana together. Carlos stated that the K2 caused him to hallucinate that Zoe was a demon. At that point, he attacked Zoe and choked her, eventually killing her. 

Plea and sentencing.

Despite Carlos' 2019 confession, it actually took years for the case to make it to the courtroom. On August 15th, 2022, he pleaded guilty to murdering Zoe Campos. However, he claimed that his actions were heavily influence by K2 and asked jurors to consider this during the penalty phase.

The jury deliberated for 14 minutes before sentencing Carlos Rodriguez to life in prison. 

No comments:

Post a Comment