A 20-year-old woman was found dead on Saturday in western Texas~, after she had been missing for more than a week. According to authorities, A man has been detained in connection with the homicide.
According to the Midland Police Department, Madeline Pantoja was reported missing on May 11 after leaving her phone and car behind at her residence in Midland. Several law enforcement agencies joined in a day-long search after she vanished. Nine days after she was reported missing, her remains were discovered in a remote location southeast of the city limits, authorities said on Saturday.
According to Midland Police, Mario Juan Chacon, Jr., 24, was detained on suspicion of murder in connection with Pantoja’s death on Saturday afternoon within hours of the finding. As of Saturday night, he was being held without bond at the Midland County Jail, according to the police. CNN is trying to find out if Chacon has a lawyer. Authorities on Saturday provided few specifics, including how they came to suspect Chacon in the woman’s killing or whether he previously knew the deceased. According to Midland Police, an autopsy will be performed in Dallas while the investigation into Pantoja’s death is still open.
According to Midland Police Chief Seth Herman, the hunt for Pantoja had been ongoing “on a 24-hour basis” over the previous week. The FBI, the Texas Rangers, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Midland County Sheriff’s Office had also joined the investigation. Around 60 square miles of isolated property had been combed by air and ground teams frantically trying to find the young woman, according to Herman.
As investigators looked for Pantoja, more than 25 people were interviewed and more than a dozen search warrants were also issued, the chief continued. Prior to Pantoja’s death, Midland Mayor Lori Blong made a $20,000 reward offer for information leading to her location on Friday. At a news conference on Friday, the mayor stated, “I cannot understand the stress, the fear, and the worry of Madeline’s family and friends as they’ve gone through this tragedy. Police remained mum on whether the incentive was being claimed on Saturday.
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