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Hours leading up to Stacy Duke's death: Ex-boyfriend speaks about surveillance video

Surveillance video from Monday, April 10, 2017, shows the hour leading up to 15-year-old Stacy Duke's death. Here, she is talking with her ex-boyfriend before someone picks her up and brings her to the home on Dore Drive in Bakersfield, Calif., where she was later found dead in the garage. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

Eyewitness News continues to dig deeper into a south Bakersfield murder investigation, after police said a 15-year-old girl was strangled in a garage.

Stacy Duke's accused killer is 23-year-old Gerardo Rodriguez, who is currently in jail without bail.

After hearing about the hours leading up to the teen's death from a key witness in the murder investigation, Eyewitness News obtained surveillance video that supports at least some of what that person said.

In court documents, the detective on this case writes that at the crime scene, officers spoke with a woman named Lydia Ramirez. This is the same witness who talked to the Eyewitness News.

Court documents state when police talk to Ramirez, she "initially lied about her name" and "she stated she picked up the victim in her van" and brought her to the home on Dore Drive.

This happened about an hour before Duke's body was found in the garage, which is about a mile away from where Ramirez picked Duke up.

When Ramirez talked to Eyewitness News, she said she had been driving by the area when Duke flagged her down.

"I was driving back here (Dore Drive), and she ran out in the street to stop me," Ramirez described.

Ramirez said Duke, who she thought was named Angelica Cortez, told her that her boyfriend was "trying to kill her."

The surveillance video of this moment shows Duke and her ex-boyfriend getting into what appears to be an argument, before Duke hops into the white van Ramirez is driving.

Duke's ex-boyfriend asked to remain anonymous during the interview, and he is not a suspect in this murder investigation.

"She was walking down the street with one of my neighbors, when I came, when I seen her she didn't want to talk to me at all. I tried to get her to talk to me, she didn't want to talk," Duke's ex-boyfriend said.

Duke's ex-boyfriend said he knew her for about seven months and at this point they had been broken up for about a month.

He said when he saw Duke walk past his house, he went up to her to talk.

"I just wanted to know how she was doing, if she was OK, if she was eating, because I cared for her," he said.

He said that Duke was previously living with him at his parents house, but after they broke up, "One day I went to work, she was asleep when I left. When I got back, she was gone. She took off."

The ex-boyfriend said he thinks "she was on the streets bouncing from house to house pretty much."

The surveillance shows Duke driving off with Ramirez, who said she drove her to the house on Dore Drive, where the accused killer Rodriguez lives.

Duke's ex-boyfriend said he did not know Rodriguez.

The ex-boyfriend said he also thought Duke was in her 20s and was "Angelica Cortez." It wasn't until the day after she died he found out about her death and her real identity.

"I didn't think it was a lie, because she didn't hesitate for nothing," he said.

Duke's family talked with Eyewitness News on Tuesday and talked about the teen's life, clarifying who she was.

The court documents go on to give greater insight into the murder investigation.

Documents state police arrived to the crime scene to help fire personnel, who were originally responding to the residence "for a possible overdose."

Court documents state that fire personnel said they saw Rodriguez "standing near the garage. He was sweating profusely." It also states that fire personnel overheard the suspect stating, "'I'm sorry, I'm sorry,' and rambling to himself."

Documents reveal at the crime scene Ramirez also "made the statement that she saw Gerardo Rodriguez 'straddling' over the victim, holding her down.'"

Detectives said in the documents that a sexual assault kit was used to see if Rodriguez raped the victim. Those results are pending.

Anyone who can provide information helpful to the investigation is asked to call police at (661) 327-7111.

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