MESA, AZ - A Mesa woman who sparked a police investigation after disappearing last week has been arrested in connection with a grisly murder.
Police confirm Vanessa Mendoza, her boyfriend, mother, and another man have been taken into custody in connection with the death of 39-year-old Daniel Barraza Gomez.
Authorities launched a search for Mendoza after she disappeared Thursday and signs of a struggle were found at her apartment near Dobson Road and Southern Avenue.
Investigators reportedly found blood during a search of the home, but were unable to find Mendoza.
Mesa police Sgt. Steven Berry said Mendoza was located early Saturday morning at a Chandler home with her boyfriend Genaro Silva.
During an interview with police, Silva told detectives that on March 15 he arrived at Mendoza's Mesa apartment where he found Mendoza and Gomez together. Silva reportedly went on to tell investigators that he grabbed a hammer and struck the victim several times, killing him.
Berry said sometime later that day, Mendoza's mother, Sylvia Olivas, and Christopher Alejo also came to the apartment. Alejo reportedly stole money from Gomez then helped Silva roll the victim's body in bedding and remove it from the home.
Gomez's body was then loaded into a vehicle and taken to a desert location on the Salt River Pima Indian Community where it was placed in a wash, covered in gasoline and set on fire.
According to Berry, Silva provided information about the location of the body and detectives were able to recover the remains and identify the victim.
Gomez's sister said, “These people need to pay for what they did.”
“I know it won’t bring back my brother but at least they will have to think about what they did for the rest of their lives," she said.
All four suspects have been booked in connection with the murder.
Silva is facing charges of second-degree murder, hindering prosecution, and concealment of a dead body. Mendoza was also booked on charges of hindering prosecution and concealment of a dead body. Olivas and Alejo face similar charges.
The family of Daniel Gomez will be holding a car wash on March 30th from 8 a.m to 1 p.m. at El Nuevo Taquito at 33rd Avenue and Van Buren Street.
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