COOK COUNTY, IL (The Chicago Tribune) – A neighbor of the 33-year-old woman found strangled in her Schaumburg apartment on Easter Sunday has been charged in the slaying, officials said.
Bulmaro Mejia-Maya, 29, who was arrested Wednesday in Jacksonville, Fla., was charged with first-degree murder, home invasion and aggravated criminal sexual assault in connection with the death of Tiffany Thrasher, police said. Mejia-Maya had previous ties to Florida, police said.
Thrasher was found Sunday by police after they were called for a well-being check at her home in the 2600 block of Clipper Avenue.
“We don’t know if she had any (earlier) contact with him,” Schaumburg police Sgt. Christy Lindhurst said at a news conference Thursday. “It’s possible their paths may have crossed with the proximity of the buildings.”
According to police, Mejia-Maya, a construction laborer, had lived in a building directly north of Thrasher’s building for the past six months.
“He has made incriminating statements,” Schaumburg Detective Commander Kurt Metzger said of Mejia-Maya.
Metzger said Mejia-Maya entered the apartment through an unlocked window but declined to share details of the crime.
“I wouldn’t want to say what it was. It’s horrible,” he said.
Metzger confirmed that more than 200 pieces of physical evidence have been collected at the scene and more than 50 police officers were involved in the investigation, which is ongoing. Police would not release any information about the suspect’s criminal background or prior convictions.
Meija-Maya waived extradition at a hearing Thursday in Jacksonville and will be brought back to Cook County before May 4, police said.
The Cook County medical examiner’s office said Thrasher’s death was a homicide caused by strangulation. Police believe the crime occurred between about 8 p.m. Saturday and 11:45 a.m. Sunday.
Thrasher’s sister, Misty King, released a statement Thursday:
“Our family is devastated by the additional details regarding this heinous act. Words cannot express our pain and suffering. We are extremely grateful to the Schaumburg Police Department, their detectives, and the supporting agencies for bringing the perpetrator to justice. We can now begin to grieve knowing that justice will be served.
“We would also like to thank the many individuals and businesses that have assisted us through this difficult time with their kind words and actions. Please know that you are the beacon of hope in this difficult time.
“We would again reiterate that anyone with information come forward.”
“There is no reason to believe it was anything other than random,” Metzger added.