Neighbor recounts dramatic arrest of man suspected of house cleaner's murder in La Marque

Eyewitness News was the only station at the scene where investigators collected evidence that led police to the suspect.

Briana Conner Image
Friday, February 3, 2023
Neighbor recounts dramatic arrest of man suspected in woman's murder
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Carlos Lara-Balcazar was arrested in the murder of Maria Rios after trashed evidence linked him to the crime scene, authorities said.

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- We're learning more about what led La Marque police to a man suspected of murder. On Tuesday, Maria Rios was found dead inside a house that was under construction in the new Sunset Grove neighborhood.

Eyewitness News was the only news station at the scene Wednesday night when investigators collected evidence that led them to Carlos Lara-Balcazar. He was arrested Thursday morning in Houston by the Gulf Coast Violent Offenders Fugitive Task Force.

"That's, like, scary. That's really scary," Dolores Carrion said.

SEE ALSO: Woman found dead in empty, new home in La Marque was owner of cleaning company, police say

Fear was Carrion's first reaction after learning her daughter witnessed the arrest of a man suspected of murder at the Broadway Park Apartments where they live.

"There were like two police, and the rest were unmarked cars," Carrion's daughter described what she saw and heard. "They just started racing to the front. They had that battering ram, and they were hitting the door."

Maintenance workers have boarded up the door police broke down to get to Lara-Balcazar. His mugshot showed bandages on his head from injuries received during the arrest.

He's facing a felony for tampering with evidence, but La Marque police said he's the main suspect in Rios' murder. She was cleaning a home under construction before investigators found her body on Tuesday. Police said she died in a targeted attack, but they have not revealed how the two knew each other. They also have not answered questions about what they found inside a dumpster in Houston Wednesday that helped them identify Lara-Balcazar as a suspect.

Our cameras captured them collecting evidence that night on Golfcrest Drive, which is less than 10 minutes away from where Lara-Balcazar was arrested on Broadway Street Thursday morning.

"Last thing you want to think about is actually a murderer living here, or hiding out here, or whatever," Carrion said.

Carrion said she's grateful Lara-Balcazar is now in the Galveston County jail instead of a few doors down. La Marque police expect further charges to be filed against him soon.

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