Alma Del Real's aunt, close friends testify in Alberto Cruz's trial


The trial for the man accused of murdering Alma Del Real is moving along swiftly in South Bend.

Tuesday, a slew of witnesses testified for the prosecution and some revealing video evidence was shown.

Prosecutor Christopher Fronk gave an opening argument alleging Alberto Cruz’s guilt.

Cruz and his attorney, James Korpal, waived an opening argument.

Witnesses for the prosecution started with Del Real’s aunt, Susana Lagunas, who explained very clearly and simply when she realized her niece was missing.

Then the prosecution called Eric Lauderman, a police officer and bouncer.

Lauderman was the bouncer at Studio Rumba in South Bend in April 2015, on the last night Alma was seen alive.

The witness said Cruz followed Del Real around all night, scowling when other people spoke to her.

From there, the prosecution called a few friends who also saw Del Real and Cruz out on the town that night, for a clear narrative of the last times she was seen alive.

Two South Bend Police officers also testified.

One said Cruz seemed to be at Del Real’s “beck and call,” based on conversations with him,.

The officers spoke about Cruz’s statements to them during the time the community was searching for Del Real.

His first interview was just a day after she was reported missing.

At that time he wasn’t a suspect, just the last person she’d been seen with.

He told a story of just dropping her off two nights ago then leaving.

But just more than a month later, police questioned Cruz again, this time as a suspect.

They had cell phone records that didn’t match the stories he was giving.

That’s when Cruz got defensive and even cried at one point.  

Wednesday, the state is expected to call an FBI agent assigned to the case as their first witness.

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