EL DORADO, Kan. (AP) — A man suspected in the slaying of a college student who led a secret life as an Internet porn performer was arrested in Mexico, authorities said.
Israel Mireles, 24, was arrested Wednesday on a Butler County homicide warrant at a relative’s home in Melchor Muzquiz, Mexico, about 70 miles southwest of Eagle Pass, Texas. He was being held there pending extradition, U.S. Deputy Marshal Logan Kline said.
Mireles has been charged with capital murder, rape and aggravated criminal sodomy in the death of 18-year-old Emily Sander, Butler County prosecutor Jan Satterfield said. Investigators believe Sander’s killing was planned, she said.
Sander was last seen alive on Nov. 23 when she left an El Dorado bar with a man police identified as Mireles. The disappearance of the Butler Community College student drew nationwide attention after the discovery that she also led a secret life as an Internet pornography model named Zoey Zane.
Her body was found six days later, about 50 miles east of El Dorado, as police traced the route they believed Mireles took to pick up his 16-year-old girlfriend, Victoria Martens, in Baxter Springs.
Kansas authorities received tips about Mireles’ whereabouts in Mexico from several sources, and their Mexican counterparts had been monitoring his movements since at least Dec. 3, when he was charged in Butler County, she said.
Mexican authorities held off on arresting Mireles until they were assured of the legitimacy of Kansas prosecutors’ case, Satterfield said.
Satterfield said her office had to promise Mexican authorities that it would not seek the death penalty for Mireles. If convicted of capital murder, he would face life in prison without the possibility of parole, she said. The extradition is expected to take about 60 days, Satterfield said.
U.S. Marshal Troy Oberly said Martens, who is eight months pregnant, was found unharmed in the same Mexican city but has refused to return to Kansas, despite an offer by Kansas authorities to assist her return.
Satterfield said prosecutors don’t plan to file charges against Martens and cannot compel her to return to the U.S. because there is no arrest warrant for her.
“It doesn’t sound like she wants to return to the U.S. Our main concern was that she was alive and safe,” Oberly said.
Mireles became the focus of the investigation after police found large quantities of blood in an El Dorado motel room where he had been staying. Authorities have said that a bedspread that was missing from that motel room was found close to Sander’s body.
Police have not released details about the cause of Sander’s death, but say her Internet activity had no connection to her disappearance.
Mireles was born in Mexico, where he still has relatives, and has been living in the U.S. legally. A rental car he was driving was found Nov. 27 in Texas, where he also has relatives.