A murder suspect called the Texas police He confessed to multiple murders and told them, “They’re looking for me,” sparking a manhunt that led to his arrest this week, authorities said.
Officials said Raul Meza Jr., 62, was arrested in Austin on Monday, five days after his startling homicide call.
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Meza has been named as a person involved in the fatal knife attack on Jesse Fraga, an 80-year-old man whose body was found in nearby Pflugerville on May 20.
Meza called police on May 24 and told them he knew he was wanted, Austin Police Detective Patrick Reed told reporters Tuesday.
“The caller said, ‘My name is Raul Meza“And you’re looking for me,” Reed said.
Meza confessed to killing Fraga, revealing details of the murder that were not released to the public, before admitting to another murder, Reed said.
“‘I got out of prison in 2016 and shortly after that I murdered a woman. “It was on Sara Drive,” Meza told police, according to Reed.
Prison records did not indicate whether Meza hired a lawyer or assigned a public defender.
The strangulation of Gloria Lofton in 2019The 66-year-old’s case on Sara Drive in Austin was unsolved, but DNA from the scene matched that of Meza, police said.
Meza was known to be staying at hotels near Interstate 35 in and around Austin, and a fugitive task force arrested him at one of those hotels Monday night.
When he was arrested, authorities found zip ties, duct tape, a flashlight, a .22-caliber pistol and cartridges on Meza, Filla said.
Reed said Meza admitted Monday night that he planned more killings.
Meza “was ready and willing to kill again, and he looked forward to it,” Reed said.
Police said they are investigating possible links between Meza and several unsolved murders dating back to the 1990s.
“There’s a good chance we’ll find more cases,” said Austin Police Detective Katy Conner.
“Right now we have between eight and 10 cases that roughly fit the similar circumstances we’re looking at, but obviously that can increase,” she said.
Bruce Mills, now Austin’s assistant assistant city manager, was the city police sergeant who led the investigation into this 1982 case.
He told reporters Tuesday that police were preparing a strong case against Meza before prosecutors negotiated a plea deal with him for a 30-year sentence, which turned out to be 11 years behind bars.
“I remember it like it was yesterday,” Mills said of the murder investigation. “We were shocked and disappointed and had no real explanation as to why this case did not go to trial. We never got any concrete answers to that.”
“Here’s a serial killer who’s not getting justice,” Mills added. “It was a travesty of justice.”
A representative for the Travis County District Attorney, Jose Garza, could not be immediately reached for comment Thursday.
The chief district attorney in 1982 was Ronnie Earle, who died in 2020. A representative of his family could not be reached for comment.
The building that now houses the Travis County Attorney’s Office was named in Earle’s honor in 2018.