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Illegal migrant charged in slaying of cheerleader found in Texas tub


(NewsNation) — A suspect has been arrested in the killing of a 16-year-old high school cheerleader who was found dead in a Texas bathtub, police announced Sunday.

The Edna Police Department identified the suspect as Rafael Govea Romero. He was arrested in Schulenberg on Saturday and charged with capital murder in the death of Lizbeth Medina, according to a statement from Edna Chief of Police Rick Boone.

Police did not release Romero’s age but identified him as an “undocumented male.”

“Although Romero is apprehended, we recognize (Lizbeth)’s family and friends are grieving and will still need support from the community,” the statement read. “The citizens of Edna can now sleep in peace!”

Officials are expected to release more details Monday.

Medina, a student at Edna High School, was found dead by her mother in their apartment on Dec. 5, KTRK reports.

Jacqueline Medina, Lizbeth’s mother, told KTRK she went searching for her daughter after she failed to show up to a Christmas parade where her cheerleading squad was set to perform. Upon returning home, she found her daughter unresponsive in a tub. Lizbeth Medina was pronounced dead at the scene after first responders tried to save her.

Authorities have not yet said what led them to charge Romero, release a cause of death, or said if Romero and Medina knew each other. More details on the motive are expected in Monday’s police update.

Jacqueline Medina said a few weeks before the incident their home was broken into, KTRK reports. Medina wondered if it was the motive again, but her daughter happened to be home.

Medina had moved to Texas from Nebraska around a year ago, according to a GoFundMe set up by her aunt, Ana Medina. She dreamed of becoming a nurse, the aunt told NBC News.

“She was always there for everybody—charming, young, and full of energy,” Ana Medina said. “That was all just cut short.”

Romero’s arrest comes a day after the Edna Police Department announced it had identified a person of interest and an associated vehicle in the case, KRTK reports. Police also released low-resolution images of a man who resembles the 23-year-old suspect.

Romero was transferred to the Jackson County jail; bond was set at $2 million and ICE placed a detainer.