The man accused of murdering his teenage stepdaughter in 2004 in Miami has killed himself in a California jail.
Raul Mata, who was awaiting extradition to Miami to stand trial for allegedly slicing the throat of 16-year-old Dilcia Mejia inside a North Miami-Dade trailer home, died more than three weeks after he stabbed himself in the groin inside a jail in Watsonville, Calif.
The Santa Cruz Sheriff’s Office confirmed his death via press release on Tuesday. Law-enforcement sources told the Miami Herald that Mata, 48, a nurse, used a portion of a pen to stab himself in the femoral artery.
He’d been hospitalized since he stabbed himself on Sept. 28.
Mata had long been the chief suspect in the death of Dilcia, whose throat was slit in her bedroom in the Colonial Acres mobile home park on the morning of Sept. 17, 2004. Mata called 911, claiming he had discovered the body.
Police officers were immediately suspicious of Mata. There was no signs of forced entry, the home wasn’t ransacked and nothing was taken from the scene, according to police. He was also scratched up and bruised, although he claimed he had fallen on a dresser while calling 911.
But advancements in DNA technology, police said, led to Mata’s arrest more than a decade later. His DNA was identified under Dilcia’s fingernails, according to an arrest warrant, suggesting she scratched him during the fight for her life. Mata had been charged with murder.