BROOMFIELD, Colo. (CBS4) – Christmas was a time for tears in Broomfield for the family of Gabriela Acosta.
They are stunned and saddened by what they are learning from court documents about a Westminster man who is now charged with the murder of the 14-year-old.
The suspect, Esequiel Padilla-Villalobos, 24, is the boyfriend of Acosta’s sister and was very close with the family. He was supposed to pick up Acosta at her mother’s house in Broomfield Sunday night and take her to another home to celebrate the holiday, according to the arrest documents.
During that ride in his truck, Padilla-Villalobos says he started having “bad thoughts.” He later confessed to having had a least a dozen beers and cocaine in his system when he told police he strangled the teenager and stabbed her five times.
Police were first alerted to the case when they say Padilla-Villalobos called 911 from a gas station and said he stabbed a girl and dumped her body along an isolated road.
Acosta’s body was found in Commerce City on Monday on Verbena Street, near the intersection with 86th and not far from the Rocky Mountain Arsenal National Wildlife Refuge.
Family member say it’s hard to believe Acosta has passed away.
“She was just a normal 14-year-old who was excited about her future. She wanted to go to college and be a dancer and she was interested in modeling,” said Janeth Acosta, her cousin.
Padilla-Villalobos appeared briefly in Adams County Court on Wednesday and is scheduled for a hearing Friday in which there could be a formal filing of charges. It’s expected he will face a first degree murder charge.
“We’ve known him for years and (he) never hurt a fly as far as I knew,” she said. “He loved his kids and loved Gaby like one of his own kids.”
Padilla-Villalobos is being held without bond at the Adams County Detention Facility.