The Miami-Dade Police Department (MDPD), Homicide Bureau, Cold Case Unit, along with MDPD Forensic Services Bureau, and in conjunction with the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office, have made an arrest in a 16 year-long homicide investigation.
On September 17, 2004, MDPD officers were dispatched to a residence regarding an unresponsive female. The officers made contact with the victim's stepfather, Raul Mata, who directed them to the lifeless body of the teenager. Dilcia Mejia was discovered with a laceration to her neck, and the Medical Examiner's office ruled the case a homicide. Although no arrest was made at the time of the incident, through the years, investigators continued to pursue all possible leads. Investigators, working closely with the Forensic Services Bureau, used DNA obtained from the victim’s body, that led to a positive match identifying Raul Mata as the primary suspect in the case. Due to the forensic advancements in DNA technology, and their determined efforts, investigators linked physical and circumstantial evidence, successfully solving the case. Investigators located Raul Mata in California, and with the assistance of the Watsonville Police Department, he was taken into custody and arrested for the murder of Dilcia Mejia. Raul Mata is pending extradition to Miami-Dade County.
Director Ramirez stated, “I am extremely proud of the Miami-Dade Police Department’s Cold Case Unit, for solving this case. Our Homicide Bureau takes great pride in being a voice for the voiceless, and offenders of unsolved homicide cases should never rest easy knowing they are on the case. There is no greater satisfaction than to provide closure to the family after such a tragic loss. I would also like to extend my gratitude to the Miami-Dade State Attorney’s Office and the Watsonville Police Department for their collaboration in this case.
Miami-Dade State Attorney Katherine Fernandez Rundle stated, “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. Those police officers and prosecutors working unsolved cases are among some of the most dedicated professionals one can ever hope to meet. All crime victims should gain strength from the knowledge, shown by this arrest, that unsolved cases are never, never forgotten.”
“We were able to accomplish the goals in which the Miami-Dade Police Department set forth to us and together, we were able to assist them in their successful arrest of a suspect who was involved in such a heinous crime,” said Watsonville Police Department Captain Anthony Magdayao.