The sixth day of the trial of Enrique Arochi, who is accused in the disappearance of UTD alumna Christina Morris, continued with the court hearing testimonies from several witnesses, including Arochi’s neighbor, his ex-girlfriend and detectives from the Plano Police Department.
The morning began with Judge Mark Rusch directly questioning Jacob Talamantes, who used to work with Arochi at the Sprint store in Wylie, TX. He was found discussing the case with another witness and with a cameraman on television last night. Talamantes spoke to the judge about his several arrests for marijuana possessions in Dallas County, Plano and Fort Worth over a period of two years.
“His anticipation of a deal is interesting,” said Rusch, referring to the fact that Talamantes seemed to have wanted a deal to waive a pending drug charge in exchange for testifying in the case. The questioning of Talamantes finished at 8:58 a.m.
Next, Catherine Foreman, a police officer at Plano PD, took the stand. Foreman was attending a football game at Allen High School when she was approached by another parent with information pertaining to the Morris case. Foreman said the parent told her she recognized Arochi from surveillance footage, even though Arochi’s name had not been made public yet. Foreman also knew the Arochi family personally, as her son was close with Carlos Arochi, Enrique’s brother.
Arochi’s former neighbor, Traci Reaves, was then called to the stand. Reaves, who had a surveillance camera on the corner of her house, said Arochi contacted her on Sept. 4, 2014 and asked her to check her surveillance footage. The prosecution showed a satellite map of Reaves’ and Arochi’s houses, pointing out the location of the camera. Reaves testified there was nothing of interest on the footage to turn over to the Plano PD.
Rand Aridi, a 2013 graduate of UTD and Arochi’s ex-girlfriend, was called to the stand. She said she and Arochi began dating in 2009 in what was an on-off relationship. By 2014, she confirmed she and Arochi were exclusive and that they would talk to each other many times per day.
The prosecution showed screenshots of admitted text messages between Aridi and Arochi on Aug. 29, 2014. Arochi sent a message to Aridi at 8:02 p.m. saying, “Taking the black off my rims” to which Aridi responded, “Oh okay.” He then went on to complain of a headache and said he was going to sleep, promising Aridi to call her the next day before his 8 a.m. shift at the Sprint store.
The first communication between the two the next day was at 10:52 a.m. Aridi said she confronted Arochi, who told her he had slept through his alarm. In addition, Aridi testified that she saw that Arochi’s hand was cut and bruised around his knuckle area later on Aug. 30, 2014. Aridi and Arochi stopped talking to each other in early 2015, and Aridi eventually broke it off. She said Arochi had tried to reach out to her, but she said she didn’t respond.
The defense began questioning Aridi after morning break, asking if she knew any of the girls Arochi had been with on the night of Morris’ disappearance. Aridi testified that she knew of them and thought Arochi was interested in one of them. She then said that she didn’t know that Arochi’s car was damaged until the detectives told her about it. Arochi told her he punched his car.
The prosecution then called Fred Garcia, a detective for the PD who was court-ordered to install a GPS tracking device on Arochi’s car.
“We were hoping he would go back to wherever he left her,” he said.
He said he had difficulty placing the device due to the car’s low profile. Garcia testified that after he finished examining the underside of the car to find a suitable spot for the tracking device, he pulled out his hand to find it clean – a first for him.
“I’ve been under brand-new cars in car lots and never came back with a clean hand,” Garcia said. “It was absurdly clean…it was better than showroom condition.”
The defense cast doubt on his testimony, pointing out the fact that Garcia wrote a supplemental report on June 24, 2016 – nearly one year and nine months after Garcia inspected the car
Daniel Caballero, a police officer with the Crimes Against Persons (CAPERS) unit in the Plano PD, took part in an aerial search in the region surrounding the Shops at Legacy, where Morris went missing, using a DPS helicopter.
He was also tasked with searching through Arochi’s trash for items that may have been pertinent to the case. The prosecution brought into evidence several items including a post-it note in Spanish that translated into “black shirt, texts from the 29th till today, bank bills, cellular bills” – something that Caballero found significant because Arochi wore a black shirt the night Morris went missing.
Caballero also said he found a used roll of gorilla tape and a bottle of OdoBan – items, he said, could be used to tie up a victim and mask the smell of a decomposing body. The defense countered by asking whether gorilla tape and OdoBan were common household items, to which Caballero responded yes.
The trial recessed for lunch break at 11:58 a.m. Rusch expressed concern that Arochi had become very pale and instructed an officer to have a nurse check Arochi’s blood pressure.