POSTED: 9:10 a.m. HST, May 16, 2012
LAST UPDATED: 6:12 a.m. HST, May 17, 2012
CHICAGO >> Police and FBI officials were poring over more than 100 tips as they hunted for a man accused of stabbing his new wife to death and leaving her body in her bathtub, still clad in the silver sequined cocktail dress she wore to celebrate their wedding.
More than 30 law enforcement agencies had joined federal agents in the manhunt for Arnoldo Jimenez, who married Estrella Carrera on Friday at Chicago City Hall and allegedly killed her just hours later. Police would not say in which states they were looking for him, but that it was "all over the country."
"We are following every lead no matter where it takes us," said Capt. Joseph Ford of the Burbank Police Department, outside Chicago. "We will not stop looking, and this will not go away."
Authorities began looking for Jimenez soon after Carrera's family reported that she failed to pick up her two children Saturday as she had arranged. The family had been unable to reach Carrera or Jimenez, so they asked police to check on her well-being at her apartment in the suburb of Burbank.
That's when Carrera's body was found in the bathtub, still clothed in the dress she also may have worn at her wedding ceremony.
That day, the bride's family received a haunting phone call from a relative of her new husband. Jimenez' sister told them he had called her and tearfully said he had left his bride bleeding after a "bad fight," Carrera's sister told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
Jimenez was charged with first-degree murder, leaving the bride's family searching for answers as to what befell the 26-year-old mother of two in the hours after she secretly married her on-and-off boyfriend.
Most of Carrera's family disapproved of her relationship with Jimenez, even though he was the father of her 2-year-old son.
Jimenez had hit and bruised Carrera in the past, an older sister, Jazmin Carrera, told the AP. Police also said family members reported incidents of violence while the couple was dating.
Jazmin Carrera described 6-foot, 220-pound Jimenez as "very possessive" and jealous. She said she doesn't understand why her sister married the 30-year-old Jimenez in what seemed like a rushed ceremony — or why she married him at all.
"That's the question everyone's asking themselves," Jazmin Carrera said.
She received a text message from her sister Friday, inviting her to join them and their friends at a Mexican restaurant and a nightclub to celebrate the nuptials. She didn't join the festivities.
"It was just all of a sudden," Jazmin Carrera said. "She didn't give us enough notice."
On Sunday, relatives heard from a sister of Jimenez that he had called that day, Jazmin Carrera told the AP.
"She said that he was crying and he was really nervous," she said. "He said they had a really bad fight and he had left her bleeding."
Jimenez hung up on his sister and wouldn't pick up when she called him back, Carrera said.
Police in Burbank said they are aware of the account and are looking into it.
Police are pleading with Jimenez to turn himself in "for the sake of his family and especially his children," Ford said. "I am sure they are very concerned for his well-being."
Ford said Jimenez was previously arrested for domestic violence in another city in a case that did not involve Carrera. Police don't know what Jimenez does for a living, although he was last known to be driving a black 2006 Maserati, an expensive car.
"We do not believe Jimenez is a danger to others, but we certainly do not know his mind frame at the present time," Ford told the AP.
Since the killing likely took place mere hours after the couple went to Carrera's apartment, the suspect had a day to flee the metropolitan area or even the state, Ford said.
The victim's sister said she is taking things "a day at a time."
"The emotions are just on and off," Jazmin Carrera said. "It's unbelievable one minute, and then it hits you and becomes real."