BRAZORIA COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- More than 17 years after the shocking murders of an elderly couple in Cleveland, a 41-year-old Brazoria County woman has been arrested and charged, police said.
Shelley Susan Thompson-Lemoine, of Freeport, was arrested Friday outside a parole office in Angleton, Texas. She is being held on a $1 million bond in the Liberty County jail on a capital murder charge.
On April 14, 2005, Carolina Tejeda found her parents, Luz and Antonio Rodriguez, beaten and strangled inside their Cleveland home.
"I knew it would come. I didn't know this long, but I knew this day would come," Tejeda told ABC13. "The community has always kept our parents in their prayers, and we're just very thankful, and God is good."
Antonio Rodriguez was an 80-year-old WWII veteran. He and his wife Luz, 77, were very well-known in their small-town community. People who knew the couple told ABC13 that they were kind and generous the day of their murders in 2005.
The scene was described as brutal and bloody.
Investigators revealed unidentified DNA was left behind. It was entered into the Combined DNA Index System (CODIS), a national DNA database, but it wasn't until 2021 that it got a hit, according to the Texas Rangers.
They said that hit led them to a Gatesville prison to Thompson-Lemoine, serving time for unrelated drug charges. Detectives from the Cleveland Police Department and Texas Ranger Brandon Bess traveled to the prison to obtain a DNA sample from her.
The rangers said it was a match to the DNA found in 2005, and on Friday, Thompson-Lemoine was arrested. She had been residing in Freeport after her release from prison.
"I have never seen her. I don't recognize her name or anything," Tejeda said.
Tejeda believes more people were involved. The motive is still unclear, but the arrest, she says, is a start. She encourages other victims' families to keep hope alive, even when cases turn cold.
"They didn't give up on my mom and dad's case. They worked really hard, ' Tejeda said.