MORRISANIA, NY (PIX11)—Alice McLeod has lived in the same apartment in the Morrisania section of the Bronx since the 80s.
In 1998, she decided to take in a foster child, little fourteen-year old Marlena Cruz. Cruz had been in and out of foster care for much of her life, after her mother passed away, according to police.
"She came here and said I need love," says McLeod. " I said if you stay here long enough, you will get love."
Then, she went missing one cold winter night.
McLeod says that is where her nightmare began - foster child or not - seeing a police man at the door is just gut-wrenching.
"It was about one o'clock int he morning when the knock came," says McLeod.
McLeod said she had filed a missing person report a few days before the knock came, but when the officer told her little Cruz had been found dead -- she broke down.
"I told (the officer) if it takes you twenty years, find who killed my girl. I want closure."
"When they showed me the picture of what he did to her, I just broke, said a teary-eyed McLeod.
The case went cold. For the past fourteen years, McLeod has prayed that detectives would find the man who brutally killed Cruz.
Her prayers were answered last night. Detectives arrested James Martin, who was already serving time in a Pennsylvania jail cell for another murder.
Cops found Martin after re-examining DNA from under Cruz's nails.
"She dig him up, scratches on him and got the DNA under her nails, thanks God for that, otherwise they would never have found him, " said McLeod, who sat at the same dining room table she once sat at with Cruz.
Today, Martin was arraigned. McLeod did not go, saying she can not look at the man who did this.
" How did this man get out of jail, to kill these people, how did this happen, he killed three people, she said." "Marlena should still be here."
If anything positive came out of this, she says it was closure and now says she has to angels in her life: the detectives and little fourteen year old Marlena Cruz.