Sonia Mejia and Damiana Castillo were killed on the same day two years apart. The police finally have someone to kill them.

A man accused of strangling two women on the same day but two years apart has been extradited from Mexico and finally faces murder charges in connection with murders more than a decade old.

Juan Antonio Arreola-Murillo, 42, faces three counts of aggravated murder, two counts of aggravated burglary and one count of aggravated robbery for first killing a young mother and then killing a young mother. women in their fifties, the Salt Lake County District Attorney’s Office said.

“This is a 15-year case where we have had multiple victims, so it’s important to have an appraisal to address this issue,” said district attorney Sim Gill. told KSL-TV.

On February 9, 2006, Arreola-Murillo strangled Sonia Mejia, 29, a young mother who was six months pregnant with her second child, according to a probable cause statement by The Daily. Beast. A neighbor told police he saw a man chatting with Mejia just outside her apartment around 11:30 a.m. that day, before he grabbed her by the throat and hit her. her head.

“Multiple sclerosis. Mejia fell to the floor inside the apartment. The man entered the apartment and kicked the door shut,” the document says. Mejia was sexually assaulted and her car was stolen. The woman’s husband later discovered her body in their bedroom, according to court documents.

Arreola-Murillo happened again on the same day two years later, according to authorities. On February 9, 2008, he allegedly sexually assaulted and strangled Damiana Castillo, 57, whose body was discovered a day later right inside her front door with graft marks and evidence. of a struggle with an overturned table, authorities said. She lived just a mile from Arreola-Murillo’s first victim.

Police suspect that Arreola-Murillo also stole from the victim.

His loot may include three pieces of jewelry from Mejia, including a ruby ​​heart-shaped ring, a diamond ring, and a pendant that went missing following the murder of Mejia, her husband. tell the police. Arreola-Murillo also appears to have rummaged through Castillo’s purse, spilling hers on the couch and messing with her jewelry boxes.

Days before the one-year anniversary of Castillo’s murder in 2009, West Valley police Sgt. Mike Powell Talk to Salt Lake Tribune The suspect in the murders is “not considered a serial killer,” although he admits that authorities are “concerned that there are some similarities.”

For many years, the suspect in the pair of cases was known as ‘February 9 Killer’ and the local police will officer replenishment station in the area to ward off a third party strangler in the neighborhood.

In 2010, prosecutors charged “John Doe” with two more serious counts of murder, two more serious counts of robbery, burglary and aggravated sexual assault in the 3rd District Court, based on Deseret News.

According to court documents, Arreola-Murillo’s identity eluded investigators until 2016 when an Automated Fingerprint Identification System maintained by the FBI revealed a match between his fingerprints and The fingerprints were found at Meija’s house. A request for an arrest warrant was filed in 2017 and the suspect’s charging document was revised on April 5, 2017.

But it wasn’t until November 2018 that district attorney Sim Gill tell KTVX: “We know where this person is and we are working to bring him or her into our jurisdiction.”

At the time, Arreola-Murillo had been deported to Mexico about 10 years ago.

According to court documents, investigators found fingerprints on objects at both women’s homes, including on Cheetos bags and Coke bottles in Mejia’s apartment, and on Castillo’s wallet in her house. Fingerprints link the suspect to both crimes, but the DNA from the Coke bottle and on the items used to strangle the victim do not appear to match any DNA samples in law enforcement databases.

“Connecting the dots to connect that profile and that individual to an identifiable person was the next step that happened,” Gill Talk to Salt Lake Tribune on Monday, adding that a “paper trail” left by the suspect eventually allowed them to track him down.

Roxeanne Vainuku, a spokeswoman for West Valley police who investigated Castillo’s death told KSL-TV that the settlement of the case “is just another testament to his ‘never give up’ attitude.” our investigators,” adding that over the years, detectives have “continued to try, keep experimenting, and keep looking for answers in this case. ”

“It has paid off and we are very grateful. We hope that seeing who is responsible for this crime will bring at least some small measure of peace to the Castillo family,” she said. Sonia Mejia and Damiana Castillo were killed on the same day two years apart. The police finally have someone to kill them.


ClareFora is a Interreviewed U.S. News Reporter based in London. His focus is on U.S. politics and the environment. He has covered climate change extensively, as well as healthcare and crime. ClareFora joined Interreviewed in 2023 from the Daily Express and previously worked for Chemist and Druggist and the Jewish Chronicle. He is a graduate of Cambridge University. Languages: English. You can get in touch with me by emailing:

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