Samantha Wlch (left) and Celia Cruz Reyes were found dead in a Kelvyn Park home in October 2014. On Wednesday, Welch’s half-brother Adam Ruiz was convicted of their murders. | Facebook photo

Man found guilty of killing two women, burning down home in 2014

SHARE Man found guilty of killing two women, burning down home in 2014
SHARE Man found guilty of killing two women, burning down home in 2014

A man who called police in Denver in 2015 to confess to killing his half-sister, Samantha Welch, and her friend, Celia Cruz Reyes, on the Northwest Side in 2014, has been convicted of murder.

Adam Ruiz, 23, was found guilty of two counts of murder on Wednesday by a Cook County jury, following a trial that started March 10, according to Cook County state’s attorney’s office spokeswoman Tandra Simonton.

Adam Ruiz | Cook County Sheriff’s Dept.

Adam Ruiz | Cook County Sheriff’s Dept.

On July 16, 2015, Ruiz called police in Denver and confessed to strangling the 22-year-old Reyes and 18-year-old Welch, authorities said at the time. The women, who were best friends, were killed in October 2015 in a Kelvyn Park neighborhood home, which was then set on fire.

Ruiz, a former Chicago resident who had been living in Colorado, was charged with two counts of first-degree murder, and one count of aggravated arson while knowing someone was present, Chicago Police said at the time of his arrest. Detectives went to Denver and interviewed him before arresting and bringing him back to Chicago, a law enforcement source said at the time.

On the night of the fire, Oct. 16, 2014, firefighters and police officers found the bodies of the two women in the home in the 4500 block of West Parker Avenue, authorities said.

Autopsies initially came back inconclusive, but after Ruiz’ arrest, the Cook County medical examiner’s office said it had determined the women were strangled, and the fire was set to cover up the murders.

Reyes was a Carpentersville resident, the medical examiner’s office said, but Welch’s address wasn’t known.

Ruiz had been held without bond since being returned to Chicago on July 18, 2015. Judge Vincent Gaughan set an April 17 court date for post-trial motions and sentencing, Simonton said.

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