Uncle pleads not guilty to 12-year-old girl's 1998 murder

ALHAMBRA, Calif. -- Rosie Ceballos has been waiting 19 years for this moment.

The man accused of the brutal 1998 murder of her 12-year-old daughter Vanessa Sanchez has finally been arrested and faced his first court date Wednesday - after hiding in plain sight for years.

Ceballos was in court to see her own brother-in-law, Richard Torres, face the charges.

Vanessa was found dead in a closet in the family's apartment.

The cold case was reopened due to new DNA evidence, resulting in Torres' arrest.

"I suffered for 19 years waiting for this day," Ceballos said.

What made these last 19 years so difficult, Ceballos said, is that she was under suspicion for much of that time.

She was handcuffed before she even learned her daughter had been killed and learned of her death during the police interrogation. She says she was the subject of false accusations by her own sister, whom we now know is married to the suspect.

"This monster took her away from me," she said. "And it doesn't make sense."

"And the pain is so strong. It doesn't go away"

Torres entered a not guilty plea in court Wednesday and is due back in court late next month.

The San Gabriel Valley Tribune reports Sanchez was stabbed and suffocated, found dead on February 27, 1998.
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