Probable cause existed for arrest in Lee County girl’s disappearance

Published: Updated:
Diana Alvarez
Diana Alvarez and Jorge Guerrero-Torres.

FORT MYERS, Fla. Lee County Sheriff’s deputies had probable cause to arrest a man on kidnapping charges after the disappearance of a 9-year-old girl from her San Carlos Park home, court documents show.

But Jorge Guerrero, who was named in the AMBER Alert for Diana Alvarez, was instead arrested in a child pornography case. Graphic images of Alvarez were found on a cellphone belonging to Guerrero.

The lack of an arrest related to Alvarez’s May 29, 2016 disappearance could be a strategic move related to a possible plea agreement, said Lance Dunford, a Fort Myers attorney who isn’t connected to the case.

“I think that that’s a good indicator that the state attorney is not just willy-nilly trying to file charges against Mr. Guerrero,” Dunford said. “A plea agreement like you just proposed could certainly be worked out, whether they had filed on the kidnapping charges or not.”

Guerrero pleaded not guilty in June to the child porn charges and has said he didn’t abduct Alvarez.

His attorney is seeking the dismissal of the evidence found on his cellphone, contending that Guerrero had an expectation of privacy because the phone was password-protected. That defense will be a tough sell, since police detectives found the phone in a ditch, Dunford believes.

“You have now said that I am no longer going to be in possession or claim ownership of this item, whatever it may be, and whatever happens to it, I couldn’t care less,” Dunford said. “So, if you couldn’t care less about the alleged item, then where is your expectation of privacy?”

Guerrero’s child pornography trial is set to begin May 12.

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