A convicted felon is accused of murdering a 14-year-old Claudia Ann Lucero, whose body was found in a Mesa dumpster on Friday.
Mesa police announced the arrest of 31-year-old Alex Madrid, an ex-boyfriend of Lucero's mother. Mesa Police Chief Frank Milstead said detectives believe Madrid sexually assaulted the girl and strangled her to death before leaving her in the dumpster.
Lucero, a student of Westwood High School, never made it to school on Thursday, and her family called police to report her missing that night.
Two women who were looking through dumpsters came across Lucero's body hours later, in a receptacle in an apartment complex near Horne and Brown Road.
View Larger Map
Milstead said Madrid was a person of interest from the get-go, as he'd become "estranged" from Lucero's family a few weeks ago.
Milstead said Lucero was afraid of Madrid, and said that Madrid had inappropriately touched her before, although it wasn't reported to police.
According to court documents obtained by New Times, an undercover officer who was following Madrid, and knew he had a warrant for his arrest on unrelated charges, tried to pull over Madrid for a traffic violation on Friday night, but he sped away.
Officers eventually hit Madrid's car to make him spin out, and arrested Madrid after a foot chase, too. He was arrested on charges for running from police, plus the warrant, and a judge ordered him to be held without bond, due to the aforementioned actions being a violation of his probation.
Police started watching Madrid early on as their person of interest, Milstead said.
Court video shows Madrid unsuccessfully trying to convince a judge to release him on a low bond for the police chase, saying he had a job and "children to take care of."
Meanwhile, the medical examiner's office came back with a DNA match to Madrid, Milstead said.
Madrid did not cooperate with police when they tried to question him about the murder, Milstead said.
Milstead added that police can't release all the details of the crime now, but Madrid has been booked into jail on charges including first-degree murder.
Madrid's done prison time before, and court records show he has previous convictions for aggravated harassment, resisting arrest, aggravated assault, escape, and burglary.
Keep Phoenix New Times Free... Since we started Phoenix New Times, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Phoenix, and we would like to keep it that way. Offering our readers free access to incisive coverage of local news, food and culture. Producing stories on everything from political scandals to the hottest new bands, with gutsy reporting, stylish writing, and staffers who've won everything from the Society of Professional Journalists' Sigma Delta Chi feature-writing award to the Casey Medal for Meritorious Journalism. But with local journalism's existence under siege and advertising revenue setbacks having a larger impact, it is important now more than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" membership program, allowing us to keep covering Phoenix with no paywalls.