Illegal immigrant Jose Melendez was arrested for the strangulation murder of a Boston area teacher’s aide, Sandra Hehir. The 54-year-old suspect has a long history of run-ins with law enforcement.
Sandra Hehir was killed inside her home in Worcester, Massachusetts, a suburb of Boston, last month. According to a report by the Boston Globe, the body of the 49-year-old teacher’s aide was found inside her apartment on February 5.
The Worcester district attorney’s office reportedly used DNA evidence to link Hehir’s murder to the illegal immigrant. The physical evidence was found on both the victim’s clothing and on a beer can present at the crime scene, MassLive reports.
According to prosecuting attorney Cheryl Riddle, Jose Melendez’s DNA also matched an unsolved rape case in Worcester from 2000. Melendez was a suspect in the 17-year-old rape case. The physical evidence lifted from the murder scene was run through the Combined DNA Index System. Melendez was arrested previously, after illegally entering the United States. Why his DNA was not run through the law enforcement system then, or if it was, why the match was not found then, still remains unclear.
— infowe (@infowe) March 25, 2017
Jose Melendez was arraigned on murder charges earlier this week. In 2014, the illegal immigrant broke the terms of his probation relating to a conviction in a breaking and entering case. In addition to the murder charges, Melendez was also arrested in relation to two drug cases and one count of giving a false name to law enforcement officers. He will also reportedly be facing criminal charges in both Florida and New York.
According to a Daily Mail report, a detainer was levied against the illegal immigrant by ICE on March 20, the very day he was arraigned in the Sandra Hehir murder case.
Hehir’s body was found during a wellness check launched after her co-workers grew concerned when she did not show up to work and did not contact the school about her absence. She had worked at the local high school for a decade.
“All her life she was a very kind person,” school superintendent Maureen Binienda said about Sandra Hehir during an interview with the Worcester Telegram & Gazette. “I really hope that people join together and try to find who did this,” she said before Melendez was identified as the suspected killer and arrested.
Hehir’s father died when she was only a girl. When her mother became terminally ill with cancer, she ultimately quit the job she had at the time and stayed home to care for her.
Maureen Binienda taught Hehir during her high school years. The murder victim graduated from South High Community School in 1985. The superintendent recalled Hehir being very intelligent, a great athlete, and a young woman who had a lot of friends. Binienda referred to Hehir by her long-time nickname, Buffy.
“Buffy greeted all students daily with a smile and shared her message of the importance of earning a high school diploma, continuing on to college or vocational training, making good decisions and treating others with kindness,” Hehir’s obituary said.
Here’s what we know so far about the investigation of Sandra ‘Buffy’ Hehir’s death and suspect Jose Melendez https://t.co/ZdWIkwYm3q
— MassLiveWoo (@MassLiveWoo) March 21, 2017
During his arraignment in the Sandra Hehir murder case, Jose Melendez was shielded by a door in the courtroom door during the entire proceedings. Before the hearing, his attorney filed a motion requesting the illegal immigrant be kept out of public view during the hearing, and the judge granted the request. Melendez will also be permitted the same public-shielding of his face and body during his future court appearances. He is due back in court to face the murder charges on April 13.
[Featured Image by By Prath/Shutterstock]