Suspect Arrested in Stabbing Death of 16-Year-Old Texas Cheerleader Lizbeth Medina, Police Say

Suspect Arrested in Stabbing Death of High School Cheerleader Lizbeth Medina.
Lizbeth Medina, 16.Facebook

A man has been charged with capital murder in connection with the stabbing death of high school cheerleader Lizbeth Medina, police say.

A man in Texas has been charged with capital murder for allegedly stabbing to death Lizbeth Medina, a 16-year-old high school cheerleader whose bloody body was found by her mother inside a bathtub in the family's apartment, police said.

Rafael Govea Romero was arrested at a house in Schulenburg, about 60 miles north of the Medina home, police announced Sunday. 

He is being held in lieu of $2 million bail, according to the Edna Police Department. He has no attorney of record, the Jackson County court clerk's office told Inside Edition Digital Monday.

Medina was found dead last Tuesday, when her mother rushed home to check on her after the teen failed to arrive at a Christmas parade where she was supposed to perform with her cheer squad, authorities said. 

Jacqueline Medina said she knew something was wrong when her daughter didn't show up. The family's apartment had been broken into a few weeks ago, and she was worried the intruder had returned, police said.

Instead, she found her brutalized daughter in the tub, authorities said. She called 911, but it was too late. First responders prounounced her dead at the scene.

"I lost it. She was my world, my everything. Everything I do was for her," the mother told KHOU-TV. "Someone dared to go in and just rip my daughter away from me, it just kills me," she said. "I just want answers to why they would do this to an amazing little girl who would never hurt anyone. Wouldn't dare to hurt anyone."

Police in the small town of Edna worked with the Texas Rangers to identify a person of interest from surveillance tapes, authorities said. On Saturday night, officers and troopers arrested Romero, 23, at a home he shared with relatives, said Edna Police Chief Rick Boone.

"As you know, we are a small department and this can call for a great demand to be put on my officers. They not only stepped up during their own shifts, but worked many hours willingly on their days off and past their own shift times," Boone said in a statement.

"They were dedicated to seeking justice for Lizbeth and it showed in their many many hours spent investigating this crime," the chief added.

Romero was in the country illegally with an expired visa, police said. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials have a filed a detainer against him, requesting local officials to keep him in custody until his legal residency status is confirmed, authorities said.

Investigators have not publicly revealed a possible motive for the killing, but they did say it doesn't appear the teen knew Romero.

An investigation is ongoing, police said. Prosecutors are currently reviewing the case, authorities said.

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