By JEFF MAYES
Chicago Sun-Times Wire
A man who called police in Denver in 2015 to confess to killing his half-sister, Samantha Welch, and her friend, Celia Cruz Reyes, on the Northwest Side in 2014, has been convicted of murder.
Adam Ruiz, 23, was found guilty of two counts of murder on Wednesday by a Cook County jury, following a trial that started March 10, according to Cook County state’s attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.
On July 16, 2015, Ruiz called police in Denver and confessed to strangling the 22-year-old Reyes and 18-year-old Welch, the latter of whom was his half-sister, authorities said at the time. The women, who were best friends, were killed in October 2014 in a Kelvyn Park neighborhood home, which was then set on fire.
Ruiz, a former Chicago resident who had been living in Colorado, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, and one count of aggravated arson while knowing someone was present, Chicago Police said at the time of his arrest. Detectives went to Denver and interviewed him before arresting and bringing him back to Chicago, a law enforcement source said at the time.
On the night of the fire, Oct. 16, 2014, firefighters and police officers found the bodies of the two women in the home in the 4500 block of West Parker Avenue, authorities said.
Autopsies initially came back inconclusive, but after Ruiz’ arrest, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said it had determined the women were strangled, and the fire was set to cover up the murders.
Reyes was a Carpentersville resident, the medical examiner’s office said, but Welch’s address wasn’t known.
Ruiz had been held without bond since being returned to Chicago on July 18, 2015. Judge Vincent Gaughan set an April 17 court date for post-trial motions and sentencing, Simonton said.