Crime

Israel Lomeli of Phoenix Arrested in Connection With 1998 Murder of 17-Year-Old Pete Cadriel

Phoenix police believe they've found the man responsible for the murder of teenager Pete Cadriel in 1998.

Israel Lomeli, 32, was arrested yesterday at his mother's home in the 6700 block of West Butler Avenue and booked into jail on suspicion of second-degree murder and possession of methamphetamine.

Pete Cadriel was 17 when he went missing. Web sites for missing people describe how he was last seen on July 17, 1998 in the vicinity of 70th Avenue in Almeria Road in Phoenix.

The booking sheet for Lomeli relates how, back on August 24, 1998, cops were notified of a decomposing body found in an alley behind the Brunswick bowling alley at 7241 West Indian School.

Cause of death: Shotgun blast. But the dead man's identity couldn't be determined. Cadriel remained an anonymous corpse until cops used the latest DNA techniques in 2009 to try to match blood and DNA evidence from the crime scene. Police then learned that the body had been that of Cadriel, who'd been reported missing many years before.

Now that police had a lead, an investigation followed. Witnesses were found, including one who said he'd helped Lomeli move a garbage can back in '98 that Lomeli had told him contained Cadriel's body.

Witnesses had also seen Lomeli washing the concrete floor of his home's garage, (also Lomeli's bedroom), which seemed unusual. This week, a police forensics crew found evidence that blood had been cleaned up at Lomeli's former residence.

Like his victim, Lomeli had also been 17 at the time of the slaying.

When police contacted him yesterday, he "denied any knowledge of Pete's murder and thought he had run away to California."

Cops say they also found some meth on Lomeli.

UPDATE: January 7, 2014 -- Lomeli receives probation and one year of jail, with credit for time served.

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Ray Stern has worked as a newspaper reporter in Arizona for more than two decades. He's won numerous awards for his reporting, including the Arizona Press Club's Don Bolles Award for Investigative Journalism.