Stepfather Arrested in Connection to Cold Case Murder of 16-Year-Old Stepdaughter Dilcia Mejia
Raul Mata, 46, was taken into custody last Monday by the Watsonville Police Department and charged with first-degree murder in connection to the killing of his 16-year-old stepdaughter, Dilcia Mejia, authorities said.
New DNA evidence has lead to an arrest in the 2004 murder of a Miami teen, according to reports. Raul Mata, 46, was taken into custody last Monday by the Watsonville Police Department and charged with first-degree murder in connection to the cold case killing of his 16-year-old stepdaughter, Dilcia Mejia, CBS4 Miami reported.
The last time Mejia was seen alive, she was watching television around 11 p.m. at her Florida home Sept. 16, CBS4 reported. Her mother left for work around 5:30 a.m the following morning but did not check on her, reports said.
Mata called police around 9 a.m. that morning after he said he discovered Mejia with slash marks on her neck, according to CBS4. At the time, he was questioned by police but no arrest was made. With no further leads, the case went cold.
Then, the Miami-Dade Police Department's cold case squad received an anonymous tip early this year, which led investigators to reopen the case, Detective Alvaro, a public information officer at the department, told Inside Edition Digital.
An arrest affidavit filed by police indicates that DNA evidence found on Mejia's fingernails linked investigators to Mata –– making him the prime suspect in the case, CBS4 reported. The affidavit also describes Mejia's left forearm and inner bicep as scratched and bruised.
The affidavit also mentions that investigators learned that a school counselor was planning to tell Mejia's mother, Delcia Oliva, about inappropriate advances Mata made to her daughter, according to the report.
Since May, Mata has been tracked by the Miami-Dade Police Department, with assistance from the Watsonville Police Department near Santa Cruz, where he has been living with his family, Detective Sgt. Radich of the Watsonville Police Department told Inside Edition Digital.
"Our department was contacted by investigators from the Miami-Dade Police Department after new physical and circumstantial evidence linked Mata to the case," the Watsonville Police Department wrote in a statement.
Mata was eventually located and arrested at the Hotel Paradox in Santa Cruz Sept. 21 around 7 p.m., where he was vacationing with his new wife and three children –– though it was unclear which, if any, of the children were their own, Det. Radich added.
Although Mata has not made an official plea yet, he has previously denied any involvement in her death and is being held without bail at Santa Cruz County Jail, Det. Radich added. He is awaiting extradition to Miami, where he will eventually be arraigned. His next court appearance is Oct. 5 at 11 a.m.
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