Teacher John Roberts stood before his fourth-grade class Monday with a heavy heart.
In his hands he held an article that appeared in The Oklahoman, detailing the loss of one of his students during a weekend trip to Texas. Roberts read the article to his students and began to cry.
“That's how I initiated our dialogue,” he said.
Students and staff at John Glenn Elementary School have spent the last two days mourning and sharing memories of 10-year-old Jasmen Gonzalez, of Oklahoma City, who was reported missing shortly before midnight Saturday in Carrollton, Texas. Her body was found Sunday afternoon.
Roberts said he enjoyed having her in his class because she was the type of student that never needed to be disciplined. She was always driven to succeed in reading and learn the English language, he said.
Looking back on Monday, Roberts said it was an exceptionally hard day to cope with her death because she was so liked among her classmates, and because report cards were sent home. Jasmen had earned a B in reading, he said.
Many of the students were upset about her death. Some even made cards for the family, while others took different measures. One boy began reading his Bible at one point during class and brought his hands together in praying formation, Roberts said.
“Some of them sobbed softly. Some of them were visibly shaken,” Roberts said. “They all managed in their own way to deal with the disbelief of what was happening.”
Jasmen told Roberts she was going to spend the weekend with family and cousins in Texas. He said he remembers how excited she was when she boarded a school bus to leave Friday afternoon.
“I hugged her and said, ‘Have fun in Dallas. I'll see you Monday, sweetie,'
Family friend arrested
Carrollton police arrested family friend Jose Conception Sifuentes, 23, in connection with Jasmen's death Tuesday. Lt. Doug Mitchell said Sifuentes, who had been in custody on an immigration hold, is a cousin of the family by marriage.
Police found human blood and a knife in Sifuentes' sport utility vehicle Monday. They also found yellow rubber gloves, half a gold-colored charm, strands of hair, red fiber and a white flannel sheet in Sifuentes' black Lincoln Navigator.
According to the arrest affidavit, two police dogs trained to detect the odor of decaying human tissue alerted on Sifuentes' Lincoln Navigator while it was parked at the Carrollton police station.
While speaking with investigators, police said, Sifuentes gave several “basic statements of deception, including lying about his date of birth and having tattoos.”
Police said Sifuentes attended the family gathering, but he was being deceptive about leaving the apartment alone at various times throughout the night.
Officials said Jasmen was fatally stabbed after being abducted from a relative's apartment in Carrollton. Authorities said she was taken from the apartment some time after 11:15 p.m. Saturday.
Her body was found facedown shortly after 3:30 p.m. Sunday in the 1100 block of Clint Street, less than a mile away.
According to the affidavit, Jasmen was shirtless and her pants and underwear had been pulled down to her knees “in a manner consistent with sexual assault.”
Mitchell said police can't comment on allegations of sexual assault because lab results are still pending.
A Dallas County medical examiner's office employee said the girl died of a stab wound to the chest. Her death has been ruled a homicide.
Sifuentes was with other adults in the apartment Saturday night, where Jasmen was last seen, police said.
Jasmen was sleeping in a master bedroom with a door that leads to the outside of the apartment. Mitchell said officers think Jasmen was abducted from the bedroom, but officers haven't found any evidence of forced entry into the room.
Relatives realized the girl was not in the bedroom about 15 minutes later and realized that Sifuentes, who lives less than a mile away from the apartment complex, was also missing for about 15 minutes, according to the affidavit.