De La Cruz found guilty, awaits sentencing

A guilty verdict for George De La Cruz. The victim's mother tells us they will never have closure until Julie Ann Gonzalez's body is found.

Almost two weeks of trial and more than six hours of testimony before a guilty verdict was reached on Wednesday.

The punishment phase begins Thursday morning.

One chapter has closed for the family of Julie Ann Gonzalez.

They say their fight isn't over yet.

"My goal has always been to find Julie, that hasn't changed. That hasn't changed. We still need to find Julie," says Sandra Soto, mother of victim.

Wednesday evening George De La Cruz was found guilty in the 2010 murder of his estranged wife.

It took the jury nearly seven hours to reach that verdict.

During that time, emotions were running high.

"Just a lot of anxiety. Just to be here every day and see him sitting there, emotionless. You know, not showing any type of concern. Not even offering to say something to give us some relief," says Soto.

It was five years ago when Gonzalez was last seen, she and De La Cruz were going through a divorce.

Family members say Julie had gone to George's house to pick up their daughter.

What happened after that is still a mystery.

"He's a coward, always been a coward. If he was going to step up, he had the opportunity to do this. To step up before we even got to this point," says Soto.

"He did a good job fooling a lot of very experienced law enforcement people. Ultimately, even though someone may be successful in hiding the body, you can never hide the truth," says Gary Cobb, lead prosecutor.

Prosecutors say even without the body of Gonzalez, they still had a good case.

Enough for the jury to come to a conclusion.

"Circumstantial evidence is often stronger than things like eyewitness testimony. This case had a lot of strong circumstantial evidence, basically digital fingerprints all around the defendant at the time that's relevant to the case," says Cobb.

The next step in this case is the punishment phase.

When we asked Gonzalez's mother what she's hoping for, she says it hasn't crossed her mind yet.

"I'm not even thinking about that to tell you the truth. I'm not thinking. I'm still thinking, okay George where's Julie? That's all I'm thinking. What did you do with her?," says Soto

The punishment phase will begin at 9 a.m. Thursday.


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