The ex-boyfriend of a missing California teen whose remains were found in an orchard was taken into custody Monday after the arrest of a friend in the 19-year-old’s death, the Madera County Sheriff’s Office announced.
Vicente Alexandro Jasso, 23, was charged with murder in connection with the death of Melanie Stephanie Rios Camacho, who would have turned 20 Friday. His friend, Jose Cornelio Lopez-Hernandez, 22, is also facing charges as an accessory to murder. Both are from Madera, California
According to police, Camacho was last seen Friday night leaving her job at Auto Zone in Madera before texting her mother that she was planning to meet a friend after work.
Camacho did not come home that night. The next day, she didn’t show up to her shift at work and her mother reported her missing, police said.
According to police, tracking of Camacho’s phone was disabled before her mother reported her missing.
Investigators who spoke to Camacho’s friends said that they never met her after work that Friday and that she told them she was going to meet with an “ex” instead, “to either give or receive something.”
Speaking at a news conference following the arrests, Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue said Camacho’s co-workers and a friend told detectives that she and Jasso dated only three months before she broke up with him right before Thanksgiving.
The morning her mother reported her missing, police responded to a call around 8:45 about a “vehicle partially on fire.” Detectives later confirmed the vehicle belonged to Camacho.
According to police, witnesses said they saw a blue Ford Mustang with a black hood in the area, which was later discovered to be registered to Lopez-Hernandez.
Lopez-Hernandez was taken into custody for questioning Saturday night, which led detectives to an area west of Highway 99, where they found the remains that they said they are “confident” are Camacho’s, police said.
Police zeroed in on Jasso as a suspect in the death. He was spotted driving in the area about 6:30 a.m. Monday. As officers attempted to pull Jasso, he sped off, resulting in a high-speed pursuit on Highway 99, police said.
The chase continued for more than an hour until California Highway Patrol officers disabled his car, but then Jasso fled on foot, allegedly throwing out personal items belonging to Camacho, including her driver’s license, law enforcement officers reported.
Police said they found Jasso hiding in a nearby residential area and took him into custody.
“To the family of Melanie, we are deeply sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, especially as we approach Melanie’s 20th birthday,” Pogue wrote in the announcement.
Need help? In the U.S., call 1-866-331-9474 or text “loveis” to 22522 for the National Dating Abuse Helpline.