Alberto Cruz pleads not guilty in the murder case of Alma Del Real

SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The man accused of killing 22-year-old Alma Del Real pleaded not guilty to murder during his arraignment by video conference. A friend of Alma's was in court for the proceedings and says she just wants to know one thing.

“I just want to know why. That's really all that keeps running through my head is why- why would you do this?” said Anjelica Pedraza.

That question continues to race through Pedraza's mind. She said she has been friends with Alma for a long time.

She attended the arraignment Tuesday.

“I just needed to show my support and be there for her,” said Pedraza.

Cruz appeared via video from the St Joseph County Jail shackled and in an orange jumpsuit.

Alma disappeared April 12th after a night out with friends.

For six weeks, police and volunteers searched for her and during that time, according to court records, investigators were questioning Cruz.

He continued to change his story saying members of a drug cartel kidnapped her, then he said members of the Latin Kings gang took her.

Finally, he admitted those stories were untrue.

The probable cause affidavit says Cruz told police that he had killed Alma inside her home, then led police to Alma's body in Marshall County.

Now those close to Alma are puzzled as they try to piece together why this happened.

“They were such close friends, I don't know what happened that night. I don't know what caused the argument to start- it makes no sense to me,” said Pedraza.

Pedraza says Alma deserves justice.
“Alma doesn't deserve that. No one that is this young deserves this. They deserve to have a future. She wasn't even able to get married, have a future, have kids she wasn't able to have a life and for it to be cut short,” said Pedraza.

Cruz's next court appearance is set for June 8th.

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