Detectives arrest suspect in 9-year-old cold case

August 18, 2011 3:03:55 AM PDT
A 26-year-old man is in jail, nine years after the disappearance of the teenager he's accused of killing. The arrest is bringing some peace to the teen's mother and grandmother, who've waited nearly a decade for answers.

Detectives didn't give up. They kept following leads and eliminating suspects until they couldn't ignore the evidence that led them back to the man who the victim's family told them about years ago.

For nearly nine years, a candle has remained lit inside the home where Christopher Daigle grew up, a sign of his family's undying faith that one day, they would find out what happened to him.

"To not know what happened to him all those years, it's hard," said Daigle's mother, Tracie Gregory.

Fort Bend County Sheriff's Office deputies arrested 26-year-old Richard Mendoza, Jr., Friday on suspicion of murder. His name is not unfamiliar to Daigle's mother. Mendoza and Daigle played baseball together and were friends.

"He took my son, my first born son that I loved," Gregory said. "I hope he gets the fullest penalty possible for what he's done."

The case grew cold over the years. In the last six months, the family says the Missouri City Police Department renewed its investigation. Following leads detectives have yet to disclose, they returned to a rural area between Arcola and Juliff off FM 521 in Fort Bend County. There, they found bones now determined to be human.

DNA tests are still underway to conclude whether they belonged to Daigle. Until then, the candle, Daigle's grandmother says, will remain lit.

"Until we get his remains home, I want to keep it burning, because he's still not home," his grandmother, Wanda Gregory, said.

Not home, not yet.

It's no secret that Daigle had his own set of troubles back then, but his family insisted he'd never run away. We still don't know what the motive might have been for the murder. Bond has been set for Mendoza at $250,000. He is being held in the Fort Bend County Jail.


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