Trial for accused killer of Zoe Campos to start in 10 days

Published: Aug. 5, 2022 at 5:52 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - The man who confessed to killing 18-year-old Zoe Campos is headed to trial, and his confession will be admissible in court.

On Thursday, 140th District Court Judge Douglas Freitag denied all motions filed by the attorneys for 29-year-old Carlos Rodriquez and set a trial date for August 15, 2022. Rodriquez confessed to killing Campos back in 2013.

There was a “laundry list” of motions, including one to not allow a confession letter he sent to KCBD in 2019 to be admitted as evidence. The judge ruled that this letter would be admissible in court.

Zoe Campos (Source: Lubbock Police Department)
Zoe Campos (Source: Lubbock Police Department)

Timeline of Campos disappearance, Nov. 17, 2013

Campos disappeared on Nov. 17, 2013. She was seen on surveillance camera footage at the Copper Caboose restaurant, located at 5609 Villa Dr. After that dinner, she went back to her apartment at 3532 50th St. and was never seen again.

She sent a final text at 1:30 a.m. on Nov. 18, 2013, which was one of the few leads investigators had in the case. That text was ultimately pinged back to the area of Lowry Field inside PlainsCapital Park, near 66th Street and Avenue P.

Human remains found - Nov. 7, 2018

Five years later, almost to the day, in the 1900 block of 70th Street on Nov. 7, police found a bone in a backyard. That bone was not human remains, but they found human skeletal remains one week later in a different part of the same yard.

The search is connected to the investigation into Zoe Campos' disappearance in 2013.
The search is connected to the investigation into Zoe Campos' disappearance in 2013.

Lubbock police excavated the entire backyard and recovered remains buried there.

Police were able to secure the warrant for Rodriquez, who was already in the Lubbock County Detention Center awaiting a four-year prison term for a stalking case. Rodriquez had already been a person of interest in the Campos investigation, but police did not have enough evidence to secure a warrant.

Rodriquez sends confession to news outlets - July 2019

Eight months after Zoe’s remains were found, Rodriquez sent letters to many news outlets, including KCBD. In a letter addressed do “dear people,” Carlos Rodriquez admitted to killing Zoe Campos in 2013.

Rodriquez said, “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.”

Read the letter here:

Cell phone data points to Rodriquez’ home

A search warrant obtained by police shows that officials originally questioned Rodriquez on Nov. 25, 2013, and were told he met Campos through a mutual friend but had nothing to do with her disappearance. But on Dec. 9, 2013, police questioned Rodriquez again and were told he had a conversation with Campos and met up with her at his house at 1924 70th St. to smoke marijuana.

Police were able to pin Campos’ cell phone location back to the area where Rodriquez lived and cell phone data showed his house was the last “known and confirmed location,” according to the warrant.

In 2014, cadaver dogs with the Crosby County Sheriff’s Office tracked the scent of a cadaver throughout Rodriquez’s house, backyard and alley. That area was visually searched but no grave site was located.

When more interviews were conducted with Rodriquez throughout 2015 and 2016, he changed his story again and said Campos did go into his house to smoke marijuana and he tried to stop her. Later, in December of 2017, Rodriquez said Campos came into his bedroom but claimed he did not touch her.

Inmates come forward

In March, an inmate inside the Lubbock County Detention Center told police he had contact with Rodriquez and was told, “They’ve searched the land already, they’re not gonna find the body until they move the concrete.”

Later, in July, another detention center inmate told detectives he had information that only Rodriquez would know.

“This informant also provided information not released to the media that only the person involved with her disappearance would know,” the warrant stated. “This informant further provided information that Carlos had hid Zoe’s body in the backyard of 1924 70th Street.”

That inmate was later interviewed on Nov. 6, confirming the details to the police. The next day cadaver dogs from the same group used in 2014 were taken to the house and detected the presence of human remains.

Bones were found and were first thought to be human, it was later acknowledged by police those bones were from an animal. When Detectives with LPD confronted Rodriquez about the bones, he requested legal counsel and ended the interview.

“Through subsequent jail correspondence and phone calls, Carlos indicated that he had told someone what happened and that person had ‘snitched.’ He told his mother in a phone call that he would tell her what happened at some time in the future,” the warrant stated. “Carlos Rodriquez did not deny that Zoe Campos’ was in the backyard. He, in fact, seemed certain of that fact that Zoe Campos’ had been located in the backyard of their previous residence.”

Rodriquez provides details to police

A deputy told detectives that Rodriquez wished to speak to them and gave a new story about Campos’ disappearance.

Rodriquez said, according to the warrant, that he met with her on Nov. 18, 2013, in his house after meeting through a mutual friend. Both smoked synthetic marijuana and in doing so, he lost his temper and hit Campos in the face. He then placed her in a “rear-naked choke,” and strangled her.

He then dug a grave in his backyard and buried her there, where she remained for several months. Rodriquez then drove Campos’ car to the Driftwood Apartments at 5501 Utica Ave., where she lived, and was almost caught by her aunt.

After a few months, Rodriquez felt he needed to move Campos’ body and placed her in a different part of the backyard inside of a deeper hole.

After talking to the police, Rodriquez then went with officers and detectives to the backyard and showed them where she was buried.

About an hour later, officials were able to find human remains.

Look below for KCBD NewsChannel 11′s continued coverage of the Zoe Campos disappearance:

Police: Bone found near Lowery Field is connected to missing Zoe Campos investigation

LPD Mounted Patrol search area along I-27 in connection to Zoe Campos case

Zoe Campos Investigation: Search warrant issued for house after bone was found in backyard

Suspect identified, charged with murder after human remains found

Carlos Rodriquez sends handwritten letter detailing Zoe Campos’ murder

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