Last Thursday, September 22, a Collin County jury found Enrique Arochi guilty of aggravated kidnapping in the disappearance of Christina Morris. The verdict followed more than a week of testimony and two full days of deliberations.
Christina Morris, a 23-year-old Fort Worth resident was last seen on surveillance video in a parking garage at the Shops at Legacy in Plano at around 4:00 a.m. On August 30, 2014. She had been at a friend’s apartment and was walked to the garage by Enrique Arochi who had been at the same gathering. She was reported missing by her family four days after anyone saw or had contact with her. Her car was found in the garage that she was seen entering with Arochi. Arochi’s car, a 2010 Camaro was seen on video leaving the garage.
The case against Arochi was a difficult one to prove. The evidence was largely circumstantial. The only physical evidence was traces DNA found in the trunk of Arochi’s car. Cel phone records show that Arochi and Morris were in the same area after leaving the garage. The presiding judge, Mark Rusch, rejected efforts of the prosecutors to put in evidence of “deviant pornography” and other highly damaging circumstantial evidence which was obtained in a search based on an insufficient search warrant.
The defense pointed to the lack of hard evidence arguing that the State had failed to meet their burden of proof. They also pointed to the victim’s boyfriend, Hunter Foster, as a possible suspect. Foster is currently serving a 33-month federal sentence for distributing the drug “Molly” in a north Dallas nightclub. The victim’s mother has indicated that although shocked by Foster’s drug involvement, she does not believe he in connected to her daughter’s disappearance.
The jury deliberated two days prior to finding Arochi guilty. The court granted the defense request to sequester the jury during deliberations. When the jury returned for the second day of deliberations the court learned that one of the jurors had fallen ill. Judge Rusch released the juror stating that the juror “looked like death warmed over”. They reached their verdict at around 7 p.m. Thursday night.
The police and prosecutors who continue to pursue the case against Arochi appear to believe wholeheartedly that Arochi killed Morris and disposed of her body. At least in part because no body has been found, the State has proceeded Ina charge of aggravated kidnapping instead of murder or capital murder. Aggravated kidnapping, like murder, is a first degree felony. It is punishable by anywhere from 5 years to 99 years in prison. Unlike a murder conviction, Arochi is eligible for probation following his conviction for aggravated kidnapping.
The punishment case against Arochi is set to begin Tuesday, delayed one day due to the judge being sick.