He looks like the boy next door. Clean-cut, shy.
Looking at a photo of Alexis Flores, neither homeless or “FBI Most Wanted” come to mind.
He could be the guy who helps a woman cross street or carry in the groceries.
He still could be as this accused killer is at large.
A Shock to the Neighborhood
On July 29, 2000, two young sisters played outside while waiting for their mother to return from across the street with dinner.
Iriana DeJesus and her sister Ayana had been riding bikes in their neighborhood and enjoying the summer as all kids do.
When their mother, Mota, returned with dinner a few minutes later, 5-year-old Iriana was nowhere to be found.
Neighbors helped search for the young girl for several days with high hopes.
On August 3, the remains of a child were found in an empty apartment building in the family’s Philadelphia neighborhood not far from where Iriana went missing.
It was soon confirmed that the body was that of Iriana DeJesus.
It was discovered that the young girl had been raped and then strangled before her body was placed in a trash bag and left underneath heavy rolls of carpet in the apartment building.
Near the body was a t-shirt emblazoned with a political logo and Iriana‘s blood.
A resident of the apartment building, Jorge Contreras, recognized the shirt as one that he had lent to a homeless drifter known to him as “Carlos.”
An Identified Suspect But Un-named Killer
Earlier that summer, Jorge Contreras took pity on a young homeless man. He gave him clothing, shelter and work to do in Hunting Park, Philadelphia.
“Carlos,” as Flores was known, worked three days a week at the apartment.
When Contreras had to go out of town the weekend of July 29, he gave Carlos a set of keys to the apartment so he could have access to the building while he worked.
Neighborhood residents were outraged to learn that Contreras had helped the man who quickly became the prime suspect in the case.
Contreras believed that he was just helping out a man in need.
Another girl in the neighborhood told police that she had seen Iriana walking with a Hispanic male that night and that she had been holding his hand.
They were walking in the direction of the apartment building where her body was found. It seemed that Carlos had managed to earn her trust just as he had gained Contreras’.
After that night, Carlos was nowhere to be found in the Philadelphia neighborhood.
A sketch was made of “Carlos” and DNA that was found at the crime scene was entered into the national database CODIS in hopes of finding more about the suspect.
Unfortunately, no matches turned up immediately and tips of the suspect’s whereabouts bore no fruit.
The case soon turned cold.
A Name Revealed Via DNA
Alexis Flores had been arrested and convicted in Phoenix, Arizona for shoplifting in 2002 and for possessing a forgery device in 2005.
After serving 60 days for the felony charge in 2005, Flores was deported to Honduras, where he told police he was originally from.
The following year, Flores’ DNA was added to CODIS.
In 2007, a positive match was made between his DNA and the sample found at the apartment building where Iriana was killed.
An arrest warrant was issued by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, charging Alexis Flores with murder, kidnapping and unlawful flight to avoid prosecution.
Authorities believe that Flores is still living in Honduras but that they are still determined to bring him to justice for Iriana’s murder.
The FBI is offering a reward of $100,000 for information that leads to the capture of Alexis Flores.