Man arraigned for Mission woman’s murderdfwnewsa | January 11, 2024 | 0 | East Texas News , South Texas News
A 33-year-old man accused of killing his girlfriend pleaded not guilty on Wednesday to an indictment charging him with murder.
Reynaldo Mercado III is accused of Editza Gomez’s death. She was initially reported missing on Aug. 19. It wasn’t until Sept. 2 that Mercado was booked into the Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center on a charge of murder and tampering with evidence.
Mission resident Kristian Valenzuela Jr., 24, is also charged with murder and tampering with evidence. He was arraigned and pleaded not guilty in December.
When Gomez was reported missing, police learned her last known location was with Mercado at his residence.
As the investigation unfolded, police were informed that Mercado had “access to chained-up doors of sheds or concealed compartments” at his residence and property.
Through the use of aerial surveillance, police found ground disturbances that indicated digging, according to probable cause affidavits.
Police obtained a warrant and with the help of U.S. Border Patrol cadaver canines, authorities found a body, later identified as Gomez, concealed in a compartment between the living room and kitchen areas.
A probable cause affidavit said Valenzuela voluntarily turned himself in and told police he witnessed Mercado and Gomez arguing the day she was reported missing.
He said he was in the shower when he heard a single gunshot. As he came out, he heard two more shots and saw Gomez on the kitchen floor “dying and still breathing,” the affidavit stated.
Valenzuela claimed Mercado threatened him with a handgun and shotgun to help hide the woman’s body. He said he helped Mercado wrap her body in sheets and trash bags before placing her in the compartments.
Additionally, he said he helped Mercado clean the house to “get rid of the evidence of murder,” and later burned a DVR and cleaning products in a barbecue pit.
An autopsy found that Gomez had a single gunshot wound to her head, but there are also indications that Gomez died from asphyxiation, according to the affidavits.
Both men remain held in the Hidalgo County Adult Detention Center on a $3 million bond for the murder charge.
Mercado has an additional $500,000 bond for tampering with evidence while Valenzuela has a $10,000 bond charge.