Aroldo Cadriel Charged
HARLINGEN, Apr 13, 2012 (Valley Morning Star - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
A key to Room 52 at the Hudson House Hotel in Harlingen eventually unlocked the mystery behind the person police say murdered 20-year-old Brisna Mireles, according to a court document.
Police say they have tied Aroldo Humberto Cadriel, 65, of Brownsville, to Mireles' slaying through physical evidence -- including bullets and guns -- as well as analysis of telephone records and witness statements.
That evidence led Combes police investigators and Texas Rangers to obtain a search warrant April 3 for Cadriel's Brownsville residence, where they say they found weapons, ammunition and a small amount of blood in a truck at his home. Investigators added that Cadriel made several random statements that piqued their interest, including one about dying in jail.
"(As we were) preparing to leave Cadriel's residence, we are stopped by Mr. Cadriel, who stated that he did in fact have a sexual relationship with the victim and that he had rented the motel room at the Hudson House Motel," an arrest warrant affidavit states. "Mr. Cadriel also stated that he was frustrated with feeling used by the victim only to buy items and give rides to the victim at her call."
Mireles, a former student at Harlingen High School South, was shot five times with alarge-caliber weapon, and four large-caliber projectiles were removed from her body, according to the affidavit.
On Wednesday, Combes police arrested and charged Cadriel, who was in custody of the Harlingen Police Department on an unrelated charge of aggravated sexual assault of a child.
He was arraigned Thursday in Rio Hondo on the murder charge and sent to the county jail with bail set at $900,000.
Cadriel is also accused of sexually assaulting a 7-year-old male relative, Harlingen police said.
Police allege he assaulted the boy at a home in Harlingen between 2008 and 2009, when the boy was 5 years old.
A Harlingen municipal court judge set bail at $250,000 in that case.
Room No. 52
The incidents leading to Cadriel's arrest all started with a hotel key that officers found next to Mireles' body when they were processing the crime scene on the morning of March 31. Her body had been found by a passerby about 8 a.m. that morning near the northbound Expressway 77 off-ramp, just south of the intersection of FM 508 in Combes.
"The key was attached to a tag that indicated the key belonged to the Hudson Hotel room #52," the arrest warrant affidavit states.
Additionally, police found a mysterious phone number scrawled on Mireles' leg, as well as some orange and white pills in a plastic bag.
Investigators headed to the hotel where they interviewed the owner and manager, Alka Bhakta, who told them a regular customer named Robert Castillo rented a room March 23 and returned March 28 to rent the same room.
"Ms. Bhakta described Robert Castillo as an older man in his fifties or sixties with graying hair and a gray beard and drives a white Ford four-door pickup truck of an unknown year," the affidavit states.
But Bhakta had more to tell investigators.
She said that on the night of March 30, the day before Mireles' body was discovered, she saw a young woman sitting on a "parking bumper" on the hotel's west side as if she were waiting for a ride, the affidavit says.
"Both Alka and Manisha Bhakta observed an unidentified young male subject approach the female and began walking in the direction of room #52," the affidavit states.
That young man turned out to be a key witness named Jacob Vento, investigators said.
A moment later, Alka Bhakta saw the female running toward the back of the motel with the younger male running behind her. They were seen leaving the area in a yellow sports car, the affidavit says.
Bhakta gave police consent to search Room No. 52, where they found numerous Corona beer bottles, two receipts and a strand of hair similar to Mireles' hair, the affidavit states.
Investigators say that the day before Mireles was found, Cadriel went to pick her up along with her brother, Jovanni Quinoz, at their residence and took them to eat at a Whataburger.
Quiroz told investigators that Cadriel identified himself as Brisna's Uncle Randy, and dropped him off at his house around 9 p.m. and left with Mireles, the affidavit says. Quiroz told the Star that he and his sister have different fathers, explaining that he would not have known whether the man was really her uncle.
"Quiroz provided a telephone number for Randy that he had programmed into his cellular telephone and that he stated he used to contact Randy and the victim," the affidavit states.
Investigators traced the phone number to Cadriel, called him and requested he come to the Immigration and Customs Enforcement offices in Harlingen, the affidavit says.
Cadriel arrived a short time later, according to the affidavit.
"Cadriel stated that he had been with the victim on 03/30/2012 because she had called him that she wanted to go and eat," the affidavit said.
After dropping Quiroz off, Cadriel told investigators that he drove Mireles around some more, the affidavit says.
"(Cadriel said) that the victim wanted to continue to drive around because she was upset and driving calmed her down," the affidavit states.
Then Cadriel told investigators that he dropped Mireles off at home at 9 p.m. on March 30, drove back to his residence in Brownsville, took some medication and went to sleep for the remainder of the night, the affidavit said.
'Dirty Harry' revolver
Combes police and Texas Rangers interviewed Cadriel on March 31. During that interview, the young man, Jacob Vento, who was seen running with the woman at the hotel, called Harlingen police saying he wanted to provide the police with information about Mireles, according to the affidavit.
The phone number scrawled on Mireles' leg belonged to Vento, investigators said.
"Vento stated that on 03/30/2012 at approximately 10:00 p.m., he received a call from the victim to pick her up at the Hudson House Motel, which he stated that he did," according to the affidavit. "Vento stated that while he was assisting the victim to his vehicle he was confronted by an older man in front of room #52 and provided a physical description that resembled Cadriel."
Vento then picked Cadriel out of a photo lineup, investigators said.
During the confrontation at the hotel, Vento said the man pulled out what Vento called a "Dirty Harry" revolver and pointed it at his stomach, according to the affidavit.
Vento said he and Mireles fled the area and left in Vento's yellow Nissan Sentra to the Palm Terrace Apartments at 1501 Sam Houston and met with two of Mireles' acquaintances, whom he did not know, the affidavit states.
"During this time at approximately 2:00 a.m., (March 31) the victim received a phone call from an unknown subject and left the apartment at approximately 2:00 a.m. and returned at approximately 2:30 a.m.," the affidavit states. "The victim received a telephone call at approximately 3:00 a.m. and left the apartment again not saying where she was going and did not return to the apartment."
Video surveillance from the apartment complex showed a white Ford truck entering the complex both times Mireles left the apartment, and the second time it appears to be a female entering the driver's side of the vehicle, the affidavit states.
At 3:58 a.m., a white Ford four-door pickup pulled into the apartment complex, paused for about a minute and pulled toward the office and turned around, the affidavit states.
Investigators traced the phone number Mireles called and it led to Grancisco Munoz Jr., who on April 3 told police that Mireles contacted him to procure illegal drugs, the affidavit says.
"Munoz stated that he met with the victim who was driving a four-door white 2010 or 2011 Ford truck with a male passenger who Munoz described as Cadriel at approximately 2:30 a.m. (March 31)," the affidavit states.
Phone records from this period place Mireles and Cadriel in the same area of Harlingen, investigators said.
Police obtained a search warrant for Cadriel's residence April 3 and "numerous weapons and ammunition were found including a large caliber 'Dirty Harry' looking .44-caliber revolver, which was consistent with the findings of the autopsy," the affidavit says.
Investigators also said they found a small amount of what appeared to be blood in a white four-door Ford truck, the affidavit says.
Sexual assault case
In the sexual assault case, police allege Cadriel abused a male relative in a home on West Matz Street in Harlingen between 2008 and 2009. The family of the boy no longer lives there, Harlingen police Sgt. John Parrish said.
The allegations were reported by a Child Protective Services worker on Dec. 23, 2011, a police press release said.
At the time, the boy was in foster care and told of the assault while meeting with the Child Protective Services case worker, the report said.
"The boy stated to her that when he was 5 years of age, (the suspect) would make him play a game. (The suspect) knowingly and intentionally touched the child with the intent to sexually gratify himself," the report said.
The police press release says, "At the time of the report, the true identity and whereabouts of the (suspect) were not known. The family had not seen or heard from the (suspect) in years."
The initial information to police was that the suspect's name was Roberto Quintania, but
etectives later learned that Quintania was an alias for a man they identified as Cadriel, the release said.
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