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Police have confirmed that human remains found earlier this month belong to a teenage girl who went missing after a Fourth of July party.
On Aug. 16, 2021, Oklahoma City Police responded to reports of a dead body in a wooded area near an apartment complex, as previously reported. Family members believed the remains belonged to 17-year-old Haylie Gonzalez.
“Information was developed in early August that led investigators to the 6800 block of NW 13th Street,” the Oklahoma City Police Department confirmed in a statement. “Remains were discovered at this location and confirmed to belong to Ms. Gonzalez.”
Those closest to Haylie expressed their sense of relief to Oxygen.com.
“I feel a whole lot better knowing she could be laid to rest, and especially in her hometown, which is [in] Texas,” said Haylie’s friend, Adriana Gonzalez Rodriguez. “Leaving everything in God’s hands, because that’s all I really have been doing since I found out she was murdered.”
According to Rodriguez, authorities searched the area weeks earlier when they learned the suspect Eduardo Bonilla-Lopez's cell phone pinged in the area but found nothing, according to The Oklahoman.
Haylie was last seen at a Fourth of July party at the home of Bonilla-Lopez, 18, as previously reported by Oxygen.com. Bonilla-Lopez allegedly confessed to shooting the missing teen in the head and live-streaming her final moments as she succumbed to her injuries in the passenger’s seat of his car.
Court documents state that a witness received a FaceTime call from Bonilla-Lopez, asking for help to dispose of a body, according to KFOR News. The witness saw Gonzalez “bleeding from her head, leaning over and trying to speak.”
Bonilla-Lopez refused to heed the witness’s advice when the witness told him to seek medical help for Haylie, according to court records cited by KFOR. Bonilla-Lopez allegedly called the witness back to say he “took care of the girl.”
Haylie’s family reported her missing on July 8, 2021, according to an incident report obtained by Oxygen.com. They waited several days because Haylie had a history of running away.
Bonilla-Lopez was arrested the next day, according to arrest records.
“Part of that gave my family and I closure, but now it’s like, why did he do it?” Adriana Gonzalez Rodriguez told Oxygen.com. “Why did it take this long for her to be found? Or what did she do for someone to do such a cruel thing?”
Bonilla-Lopez’s sister, Lilian Bonilla, and father, Vidal Bonilla-Jeres, were also arrested for allegedly trying to help conceal the crime, according to News 9. Investigators said they found recordings between the suspect and his relatives.
Bonilla-Lopez allegedly told his 23-year-old sister where the weapon was and instructed her on “how to dispose of the firearm,” according to court records cited by News 9. Using “code words,” Bonilla and their 41-year-old father allegedly disposed of the gun.
Bonilla-Lopez also allegedly told Lilian Bonilla the location of Haylie’s body and claimed “she was not buried.”
The Oklahoma County Jail confirmed to Oxygen.com that both Lilian Bonilla and Vidal Bonilla-Jeres were currently in custody on charges of accessory to a felony, with a bond set for $25,000 each.
Police arrested Eduardo Bonilla-Lopez on charges of felony kidnapping and murder in the first degree.
Haylie’s friend responded to the arrests.
“To Eduardo’s dad and sister, I just want to say I hope one day God forgive y’all, for the pain and heartbreak endured, for helping him [Bonilla-Lopez] hide evidence so we wouldn’t find Haylie,” Rodriguez told Oxygen.com. “I hope none of your loved ones ever have to feel what we felt when your son/brother did what he did to this innocent, young, beautiful girl.”
The Oklahoma City Police Department acknowledged those involved in the many searches for Haylie.
“Investigators were relentless in their search for Ms. Gonzalez and locating her concludes a month and a half continuous effort,” they said in their statement. “Twenty independent searches were performed by investigators, alongside various units of the police department, Oklahoma City Public Works, and several volunteers.”
A GoFundMe page was created to assist families with funeral costs.
“Haylie was such a[n] outgoing person, also sweet, and very loving at that,” Rodriguez continued to Oxygen.com. “Never in a million years would I think she would leave us this early. She was only 17. I just wish I could hold her one last time.”
Authorities say it’s still an open investigation, and anyone with information should contact the Oklahoma City Police Department at 405-297-1200.
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