Texas authorities on Monday set a $2 million bond for the undocumented, male suspect in 16-year-old Lizbeth Medina’s Dec. 5 murder.
Rafael Govea Romero, 23, is charged with capital murder and has been placed on an ICE detainer after Medina, a cheerleader at Edna High School, was found murdered in the bathtub of her apartment.
“On the evening of Saturday December 9th, Edna Police Department received information concerning the location of a suspect in the murder of Lizbeth Medina,” the Edna Police Department said in a Monday press release. “The information led to a location in Schulenburg, Texas. The Edna Police and Texas Rangers continued to gather evidence and assemble a team and coordinate with the Schulenburg Police Department. The team then moved to the suspect’s location.”
Upon arrival at the suspect’s location in Schulenburg, police made contact “with the owner of the residence who affirmed the suspect’s presence.”
“The suspect was identified as Rafael Govea Romero, born 02/15/2000. Officers seized a motor vehicle and items of evidence tending to connect this suspect Romero to the murder of Lizbeth Medina. Officers transported Romero to the Jackson County Jail where he was booked on Murder charges and magistrate [sic],” police said.
Lizbeth’s mother, Jacqueline Medina, told Fox News Digital on Sunday that she does not know the suspect. Jacqueline found her daughter in their bathtub on Tuesday evening after the teenager did not appear at a Christmas parade she was supposed to participate in with her cheer team.
Edna police said the investigation into Lizbeth’s murder is ongoing, and authorities are taking particular care in releasing information to media “to protect due process, follow ethical rules and avoid trial by press conference.”
In a Sunday evening statement, Edna PD Chief Rick Boone thanked local and state law enforcement for their help in the case.
“First, I would like to thank my crew here at Edna Police Department. As you know, we are a small department and this can call for a great demand to be put on my officers,” Boone said. “They not only stepped up during their own shifts, but worked many hours willingly on their days off and past their own shift times. They were dedicated to seeking justice for Lizbeth and it showed in their many many hours spent investigating this crime. I am proud to call them my team!”
The police chief added that there were “many other agencies that stepped up to help with investigation and extra patrol over the past [five] days.”
Jacqueline previously said she and her daughter were the only people with keys to their home in the Cottonwood Apartments complex in Edna, where they were staying temporarily after moving from Grand Island, Nebraska. Jacqueline had recently started a new job in renewable energy, she said.
On the morning of Dec. 5, Jacqueline left the apartment around 6 a.m. to go to work and woke up her daughter for cheer practice before she left. Lizbeth was supposed to go to school that day but never showed up, which may have gone unnoticed since she called out sick the day prior.
Police responded to the scene after 6 p.m. on Dec. 5 and began a homicide investigation.
Jacqueline previously described her daughter as “an amazing, good girl.” She was “very mature” and cared deeply for her friends and family.
“I just want everybody to know that that was an amazing child,” Medina said. “She wasn’t a normal teenager getting in trouble for doing crazy stuff. She was very mature for her age. She was a caring and loving person who, as far as I know and from the messages I received, she changed a lot of people’s lives. I just want everybody to remember her that way and not the way that she was taken from me.”
The Medina family has created a GoFundMe for their efforts to find Liz’s suspected killer titled “Justice for Lizbeth Medina.”