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Texas illegal immigrant indicted on capital murder charge in cheerleader's beating, stabbing death

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A Texas grand jury has indicted the illegal immigrant suspect in a 16-year-old girl’s brutal killing on capital murder charges.

The indictment obtained by Fox News Digital says Rafael Govea Romero, 23, intentionally caused Lizbeth Medina’s death while in the course of attempting to commit a burglary, robbery or sexual assault.

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The document also alleges Romero killed Medina by causing the teenager’s “head to strike a firm surface,” “striking” her head “with a hard object” and “repeatedly stabbing or cutting” her “with a sharp object or edged weapon.”

“It’s very disturbing to me,” Lizbeth’s mother, Jacqueline Medina, told Fox News Digital of the indictment, adding she thinks the grand jury handed down the capital murder charge because of “all the evidence and all the other details” in the case.

TEXAS TEEN FOUND STABBED IN BATHTUB LIKELY STALKED BY ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT SUSPECT WHO TEXTED HER FRIENDS: POLICE

Jacqueline Medina came home Dec. 5 to find her daughter, Lizbeth “Liz” Medina, dead in the bathtub of their home after she had not seen or heard from the 16-year-old that afternoon. (Instagram)

Jacqueline also said she plans to be part of the justice process every step of the way.

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“I don’t want to miss anything at all, not if I can help it, because my baby deserves justice, and I want to be part of it,” she said.

ILLEGAL IMMIGRANT SUSPECT IN TEXAS CHEERLEADER MURDER HELD ON ICE DETAINER

Lizbeth Media was staying home from school Dec. 5, but her friends and family did not notice anything out of the ordinary until she failed to show up at a Christmas parade that her cheerleading team was marching in that afternoon.

Police arresting Rafael Govea Romero,

The Edna Police Department arrested Rafael Govea Romero, an “undocumented male” officials believe is “the person responsible for the death of Lizbeth Medina” in Schulenburg. (Edna Police Department)

Jacqueline, who attended the parade after work to support her daughter but never saw her there, immediately began reaching out to Lizbeth’s friends to find out where she was. 

When she arrived home later that day, she found Lizbeth dead in the bathtub of their Edna apartment with her foot sticking out from behind a shower curtain.

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TEXAS CHEERLEADER, 16, FOUND DEAD IN APARTMENT BATHTUB BELIEVED MURDERED: ‘I DON’T UNDERSTAND’

Days later, when the Edna Police Department named Romero as a suspect in her murder, Jacqueline told Fox News Digital that the man had no relation to her daughter or their family. 

Liz Medina

Jacqueline Medina came home to find her daughter, Lizbeth “Liz” Medina, dead in the bathtub of their home at the Cottonwood Apartments after she hadn’t seen or heard from the 16-year-old that afternoon. (Facebook)

Police determined their apartment had been burglarized Nov. 13, about a month before the teenager’s murder.

ILLEGAL MIGRANT FLIPS MIDDLE FINGERS AFTER BEING CHARGED WITH ATTACKING NYPD IN TIMES SQUARE

Jacqueline previously told Fox News Digital she didn’t make the connection at first. She and Lizbeth had noticed little things that were going missing from their apartment for some time. On Nov. 13, they reported the missing belongings to police because some larger items had disappeared. 

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“I believe the burglary from 11/13/2023 could have a connection with the murder suspect,” an Edna officer wrote in an affidavit at the time. “I believed the suspect of this murder was at large and a present danger to the community.”

Lizbeth Medina catches falling leaves

Police determined Jacqueline and Lizbeth’s Edna apartment had been burglarized Nov. 13, about a month before the teenager’s murder. (Jacqueline Medina)

Edna authorities also indicated Romero may have stolen Lizbeth’s phone after the murder. Lizbeth’s boyfriend tracked the 16-year-old’s location to an area about a half mile away from her apartment using his smartphone the day of her murder.

CPB MIGRANT ENCOUNTERS ALREADY EXCEED 1 MILLION SINCE OCTOBER

The following day, Lizbeth’s cousin saw that her Snapchat sent to the victim had been opened, indicating that someone was using her phone after her death. 

Within an hour of reporting the suspicious phone activity to Edna Police, authorities were able to track the geolocation of Lizbeth’s phone to the suspect in Schulenburg, Texas, about an hour’s drive from Edna, where they arrested Romero. 

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Liz Medina

A Jackson County grand jury handed down the capital murder indictment this week. (Facebook)

The suspect’s bond was set at $2 million after his arrest.

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Jacqueline said she still has many questions about what happened to her daughter and why the suspect allegedly targeted the 16-year-old, and she awaits answers as Romero’s case plays out in court.

“I kind of want to know, just to have closure,” she said.

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Southwest

Texas authorities say nearly three dozen roosters seized at illegal cockfighting event

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Nearly three dozen roosters were seized by Texas authorities following an investigation into a large cockfighting ring, officials said. 

The Caldwell County Sheriffs Office on Sunday said nine people were also detained and 20 vehicles and a trailer were towed.

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CALIFORNIA 30-POUND BUNNY RESCUED FROM SLAUGHTERHOUSE, IS NOW A THERAPY ANIMAL AT HOSPITALS, AIRPORTS

The alleged cockfighting ring was linked to the 3090 block of Dry Creek Road in Lockhart, the sheriff’s office said. Authorities have cracked down on the illegal practice in recent years. 

FILE – Roosters attack each other during rooster fight as part of Jonbeel festival in India. Authorities in Texas said 35 roosters were seized on Sunday at an illegal cockfighting event. (AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

In November, the San Jacinto County Sheriff’s Office said hundreds of people were in attendance at an illegal cockfighting event. 

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Deputies were also able to locate various items of gambling paraphernalia including a dry-erase board documenting various “fights/matches” between birds which indicated that some 44 matches/fights had already taken place earlier in the day.

In April 2022, a man was attacked and killed by a rooster in Ireland. Jasper Kraus was allegedly attacked by a Brahma chicken that was moved to his property in Ballinasloe after it attacked a child.

The rooster had a history of attacking people. 

Kraus was found on the ground in the kitchen in a pool of blood with a wound on the back of one of his legs.

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Los Angeles, Ca

Stolen big rig burst into flames after pursuit in Southern California

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Stolen big rig burst into flames after pursuit in Southern California

Authorities with the California Highway Patrol were in pursuit of a driver in a suspected stolen tractor-trailer big-rig truck out of Bakersfield Wednesday night.  

The suspect led CHP in pursuit on the southbound 5 Freeway, near the 405 Freeway interchange shortly after the pursuit was initiated. The driver later transitioned onto the eastbound 134 Freeway.  

Hitting speeds of around 70 miles per hour, the big rig was seen swerving from side to side on the freeway.  

  • Stolen big-rig burst into flames after pursuit in Southern California
  • Stolen big-rig burst into flames after pursuit in Southern California
  • Stolen big-rig burst into flames after pursuit in Southern California
  • Stolen big-rig burst into flames after pursuit in Southern California

The suspect later made his way to the eastbound 210 Freeway toward San Bernardino County where officers successfully deployed a spike strip in the Claremont area, blowing out the front tires on the big rig.  

In Rancho Cucamonga, the big rig caught fire. The driver exited the vehicle and fled.

He was taken into custody not long after.  

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The big rig was fully engulfed in flames as the fire department was responding and traffic on the freeway was at a complete standstill.

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Southwest

NASA seeks participants for second year-long Mars mission simulation

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NASA is searching for the next four-person crew to participate in a one-year program at Johnson Space Center in Houston, simulating life and conditions on the planet Mars.

The mission will be the second of three year-long Mars surface simulations called Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog, or CHAPEA, and is expected to kick off in the Spring of 2025.

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The first four-person crew was locked into the habitat, called the Mars Dune Alpha, in June 2023, and is more than half way through their mission.

The inaugural crew consists of Commander Kelly Haston, a research scientist with experience in stem cell-based projects; flight engineer Ross Brockwell, a structural engineer and public works administrator; medical officer Nathan Jones; and science officer Anca Selariu.

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A four-person crew entered a Mars simulator in June 2023, where they will live for the next 378 days. (NASA)

The data acquired through the simulations is intended to help NASA prepare for human exploration of Mars.

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NASA said in a press release that the Mars Dune Alpha habitat simulates challenges of a mission to Mars, including resource limitations, equipment failures, communication delays and other environmental stressors.

Some of the tasks crew members may participate in are robotic operations, spacewalks, habitat maintenance, exercise and crop growth.

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Space walk area of the Mars simulation

The crew will practice space performance in the space walk area. (Joy Addison/Fox News)

NASA is looking for U.S. citizens or permanent residents who are healthy, non-smokers, between 30-55 years old and proficient in English.

The selection follows the standards NASA uses when considering astronaut candidates.

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Specifically, a master’s degree in a STEM field like engineering, mathematics, or biological, physical or computer science from an accredited institution, plus two years of professional experience is required. Alternatively, anyone with over 1,000 hours piloting a plane will be considered.

NASA SEALS 4-PERSON CREW IN MARS SIMULATOR FOR NEXT 378 DAYS

virtual realty set

NASA could not simulate the gravity on Mars. (Joy Addison/Fox News)

NASA said it may consider candidates with two years of work completed toward a doctoral program in STEM, a medical degree, four years of professional experience, military officer training or a Bachelor of Science degree in a STEM field.

The deadline to apply is April 2.

With backgrounds in science and engineering, the crew members will be part of a simulated mission to Mars, where the crew will eat, drink and exercise while in simulation.

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The 1,700-square-foot, 3D printed facility is about the size of a three-to-four-bedroom house and will be used for NASA’s longest analog mission to date: 378 days.

The habitat will be a place where the crew will practice personal hygiene and healthcare, like drawing blood, while also allowing them to exercise, grow food and collect geological samples.

The habitat will be packed with all the supplies that will go to Mars. What the habitat will not be able to simulate, though, is the red planet’s gravity.

But that is where virtual reality comes into play. While in the habitat, virtual reality will allow crew members to simulate space walks or Mars walks, as well as other tasks the crew may encounter on Mars, including removing dust from the space suit or solar panels or repairing the habitat.

 

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As crew members live within the confines of the simulator, scientists will be measuring their performance, cognition and health over the year to understand what the crew will go through.

The data collected will then be handed to the vehicle planners.

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