Couple Nabbed in College Student’s Mysterious Murder 12 Years Later

·3 min read
Greenville County Sheriff's Office
Greenville County Sheriff's Office

Cops have nabbed a South Carolina couple they say shot and killed a 19-year-old college student before dumping his body on the side of a rural road outside Wichita, Kansas, in 2010.

Kristopher and Candance Valadez, both 32, were taken into custody this weekend on murder charges in the death of German ‘Luis’ Clerici—an Argentine immigrant known for having a thick New Jersey accent in the heart of the midwest.

At the time, Clerici’s death shocked his loved ones, including his girlfriend, Shauna McKee, who vowed in 2010 that her partner’s killers would be found one day.

“SO...... any one know anything about my boyfriend’s murdered that wants to come clean?” McKee wrote to Facebook. “Just know, the truth will come out one day.”

Twelve years later, that day has arrived, according to police.

The couple were arrested in South Carolina over the weekend, where they shared a 5-bedroom home outside of Greenville, property appraiser and arrest records show.

Local deputies and cops sent from the Butler County Sheriff’s Office in Kansas made the arrests—Candance on Saturday and Kristopher on Sunday. Both will be extradited to Kansas to face murder charges.

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McKee didn’t respond to interview requests, but acknowledged her former boyfriend’s alleged killers on Facebook. She commented on Monday that both Candance and Kristopher used to work with her at a KwikTrip—a gas station chain—in Kansas but transferred immediately after Clerici’s murder.

KwikTrip confirmed to The Daily Beast on Wednesday that Candance remained an area supervisor for the chain. A spokesperson declined to comment further on her current status with the company or how long she’d been employed there.

Authorities said they reopened their investigation into Clerici’s murder last year after “new evidence” appeared, but declined to tell The Daily Beast in a phone call exactly what that evidence was.

The Wichita Eagle reported at the time that police weren’t able to identify Clerici until the day after his body was discovered on Feb. 6, 2010.

<div class="inline-image__caption"><p>German ‘Luis’ Clerici, 19, was missing for a week before a woman found his body abandoned next to a rural Kansas road.</p></div> <div class="inline-image__credit">Butler County Sheriff's Office</div>

German ‘Luis’ Clerici, 19, was missing for a week before a woman found his body abandoned next to a rural Kansas road.

Butler County Sheriff's Office

Clerici, who’d been missing for a week, was finally found by a woman out for a walk—his body abandoned next to a rural dirt road, shot to death. But his shoes remained clean, prompting investigators to believe he was killed elsewhere before his body was dropped, The Wichita Eagle reported. His wallet also remained in his pocket, ruling out a robbery-gone-wrong as a possible reason he was slain, cops said.

Authorities have released little information about the arrested couple. Candance, who has a public Facebook page, regularly posted pictures of a young girl and of her work at the KwikTrip. Her bio says she studied criminal justice at Wichita State University.

Clerici was known as both Luis, his middle name, and “Jersey,” for his thick New Jersey accent, McKee told The Wichita Eagle in 2010. She told the paper her last conversation with Clerici was about him moving back into a house they shared. They had been fighting recently, she said, but they were working through it.

“I have no idea what happened,” McKee, whose last name was Herrick in 2010, said. “This is a complete and total shock to me—for everyone.”

Cops have not released why Clerici was targeted. At the time, McKee said she had no clue why anyone would want her partner killed, while the local sheriff confirmed Clerici had no prior record or known enemies.

“He was the best guy in the world,” she said. “He had the best heart. He was on the right track … his friends were not bad people.”

Read more at The Daily Beast.

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