Victim: Esmerelda Nava

Illegal Alien Kidnaps, Molests, Strangles, and Kills Girl, 4

Perpetrator: Cornelio Rivera Zamites

Crime Description:

On June 25, 2005 Esmerelda Nava, 4, was molested, strangled, and killed by an illegal alien Cornelio Rivera Zamites in Gainesville, Georgia.

Zamites, who had been deported in 2003, is from Vera Cruz, Mexico.

Esmerelda went with her parents to visit the house where the 24-year-old Zamites lived. At some point late that Saturday night the child's mother realized the girl was missing. A police officer found her body early the next morning in nearby woods. An article of Zamites clothing was close by and he was gone.

Zamites had been previously deported for driving under the influence, as well as having no license or insurance.

Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials said last year they did deport a Cornelio Rivera Zamites of Gainesville in 2003, but were not certain if it was the same person as the man arrested for Nava's murder.

ICE spokesman Temple Black could not immediately verify last week if the man deported in 2003 was the same man.

At the time of Zamites' capture, Hall County Sheriff Steve Cronic said the scenario of a deportation and subsequent return seems likely.

"The indication is that he's a bad person in general," Sheriff Steve Cronic said, referring to unconfirmed reports that the suspect had legal issues in Mexico.

Authorities said a tip that Zamites was in the area led sheriff's officers and Georgia State Patrol troopers to secure the perimeter. A 21-year-old trooper in training spotted the suspect in a wooded area, and he immediately surrendered. Authorities had obtained murder, kidnapping and child molestation warrants for Zamites' arrest.

At the pre-trial hearing, Hall County Chief Magistrate Margaret Gregory ruled that prosecutors had sufficient DNA evidence to hold Zamites on murder, kidnapping and child molestation charges in the death of Esmerelda Nava.

Evans testified that Zamites told police that he carried the girl with one arm and muffled Esmerelda's cries for her daddy with his other hand ''until she stopped moving.'' The next morning the girl's body was found with her white blouse pulled up to her chest and her pants dragged down to her ankles.

District Attorney Lee Darragh made the decision to seek the death penalty against Cornelio Rivera Zamites in a three-page notice of intent filed June 9, 2006.


27JUN05, WSBTV 2 Atlanta
Manhunt Under Way for Girl's Killer

30JUN05, WSBTV 2
Man in Girl's Killing Appears in Court

18JUN06, Gainsville
DA seeks death in girl's slaying, by Matt Stewart
Archived at: http://www.alipac.us/ftopicp-37971.html

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