MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Miami-Dade police have made an arrest in the murder of a northwest Miami-Dade teen 16 years ago.
Raul Mata, 46, has been charged with first degree murder in the death of his stepdaughter Dilcia Mejia.
Mejia, 16, was last seen alive at 11 p.m. on September 16th, 2004, watching television inside of her inside her residence in the Colonial Acres Mobile home community at 9674 N.W. 10th Avenue. That’s where she lived with her mother, Delcia Oliva, and Mata.
Miami-Dade police said her mother left the home for work on the morning of September 17th at 5:30 a.m. but did not check on her daughter.
Just after 9:15 a.m., police received a call from Mata who said he had just gotten home and discovered Meija’s body with a slash wound on her neck.
“We need someone to come here,” he told the dispatcher. “My daughter. My daughter. Somebody killed my daughter.”
Mata was questioned and he denied any involvement in the death.
The Medical Examiner’s office ruled it a homicide, however, no arrest was made at the time.
Mata and Oliva later separated and he moved to California.
Through the years, investigators continued to pursue all possible leads.
Due to advancements in forensic technology, DNA from Meija’s body reportedly led to a positive match identifying Mata as the prime suspect.
Police said investigators were able to link “physical and circumstantial evidence, successfully solving the case.”
“I am extremely proud of the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Homicide Bureau, Cold Case Unit, for closing a 16-year-long investigation,” said police Director Alfredo Ramirez III. “There is no greater satisfaction than to provide closure to the family after such a tragic loss.”
“An unsolved murder leaves a surviving family with an unending pain and fear that their loved ones will be forgotten. The charging of Raul Mata for the alleged 2004 murder of 16-year-old Dilcia Mejia should offer hope, not just for her family but for the families of all crime victims still yearning for justice,” said Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle.
Investigators located Mata in California, and with the assistance of the Watsonville Police Department, he was arrested and taken into custody. He is now awaiting extradition to Miami-Dade.