BETHANY — After two months with few breaks in the Carina Saunders case, police said Wednesday they are starting to unravel her killing with the arrest of a second person connected to the case.
Francisco Gomez, 31, was arrested Tuesday night by U.S. marshals on numerous drug charges hours after Bethany police named him as a person of interest in the Saunders case. He was being held Wednesday in the Oklahoma County jail.
“It appears our hard work is starting to pay off,” Police Chief Phil Cole said Wednesday.
Gomez is a co-defendant in a drug trafficking case with Jimmy Lee Massey, 33. Massey, who already was jailed on the drug charges, also is being held on a murder complaint in Saunders' killing.
According to a probable cause affidavit filed by investigators Monday, Massey admitted to kidnapping a woman, whose name has not been released, and making her watch as Saunders was tortured and killed Oct. 9. Massey also described how Saunders' body was dismembered and left in a field behind the Homeland grocery store at NW 23 and Rockwell Avenue.
Saunders' body was found Oct. 13 inside a duffel bag.
According to the affidavit, Massey and the kidnapped woman told investigators Saunders was killed to send a message to the kidnapped woman and her friends to cooperate with a prostitution ring or they would suffer the same fate.
Police said they believe the prostitution ring is connected to the drug trafficking operation that led to charges against both Massey and Gomez. Police have not identified Gomez as a suspect in Saunders' killing, but they said they believe he has information about the case.
Police said the kidnapped woman told them she was in a parking lot outside an apartment complex when Massey forced her into a car. She said she was blindfolded and driven to a house or building where Massey forced her to watch as others in the room tortured and killed Saunders.
Cole said U.S. marshals were acting on a tip when they arrested Gomez, but he said he did not know further details. Police have said they are looking for others who were in the room and took part in Saunders' killing.
“We anticipate more arrests to come,” Cole said. “I cannot put a timeline on the additional arrests. Our investigation is very fluid right now.”