Man charged after deaths of Celia Cruz Reyes and Samantha Welch in fire on NW Side ruled homicides

Chicago Sun-Times Wire

A 22-year-old man will appear in court Saturday after confessing to strangling Celia Cruz Reyes and Samantha Welch, one of whom was his sister, at a Northwest Side Kelvyn Park neighborhood home last October before setting the house on fire, authorities said.

Adam Ruiz | Chicago Police

Adam Ruiz | Chicago Police

Adam Ruiz, whose last known address was in Denver, Colo., was charged with two counts of first-degree murder and one count of aggravated arson while knowing someone is present, Chicago Police said.

Ruiz was arrested Thursday in Denver after he called authorities and admitted committing the murders, police said. Detectives went to Denver and interviewed him before arresting him and bringing him back to Chicago, a law enforcement source said.

The source added that detectives have identified one of the victims as Ruiz’s sister.

On the night of the fire on Oct. 16, 2014, fire and police officials found the bodies of two women at a home in the 4500 block of West Parker Avenue, authorities said. They were identified as the 22-year-old Reyes and 18-year-old Welch.

At the time, autopsies for both came back inconclusive, pending further police and fire investigation. But on Saturday, police said authorities had determined the women were strangled, and the fire was set to cover up the murders.

It was not known which woman was Ruiz’s sister. Reyes lived in the 100 block of Birch Street in Carpentersville, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said at the time. Welch’s address wasn’t known.

The source said Ruiz may have previously lived in Chicago, since he was arrested for retail theft here in 2007.

In court Saturday, Ruiz was ordered held without bond.

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