A man charged in the murder of a woman in her northwest suburban Schaumburg apartment voluntarily agreed to be extradited to Illinois after being arrested in Jacksonville, Fla., Wednesday night.
Bulmaro Mejia-Maya, 29, was in court Thursday afternoon. It’s not clear when he will arrive in Cook County. In the meantime, he is being held without bond.
Officers found Tiffany Thrasher, 33, dead in her apartment in the 2600-block of Clipper Drive last Sunday, around noon. She had been strangled and sexually assaulted, police said.
Mejia lived in her building. Police said he entered her home through a window sometime between late Saturday night and early Sunday morning.
Police said after killing Thrasher, Mejia-Maya fled the state. Authorities contacted the U.S. Marshal Service and he was taken into custody in Florida Wednesday night.
“We have learned that Mejia fled the area after committing the crime and was now possibly in Florida. An arrest warrant was issued for Mejia for first degree murder. The U.S. Marshals were contacted and with their assistance, Mejia was taken into custody last night without incident,” Commander Kurt Metzger, Schaumburg Police Department, said.
Mejia-Maya was charged with first-degree murder, aggravated criminal sexual assault and home invasion.
“He has made incriminating statements,” Metzger said.
Mejia-Maya’s criminal history includes an outstanding warrant in Utah after failing to appear in court on drug charges. In 2013, he pleaded guilty in Florida to battery.
Court records confirm that Mejia is a Mexican citizen. U.S Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Enforcement and Removal Operations filed a detainer on Mejia after his arrest, according to ICE’s public affairs officer. His immigration status is currently unclear.
Thrasher’s neighbors are both relieved to hear of the arrest, and shaken by the suspect himself.
“It was a sign of relief. But it shocked me when I find it was an immediate neighbor,” said Abbas Hyde, neighbor.
Thrasher was supposed to sing in the choir at Living Hope Church in nearby Elk Grove on Easter Sunday. She was reported missing when she did not show.
She was killed sometime after 8 p.m. Saturday, when she returned home from dinner with friends.
Thrasher’s family loaded up a truck and moved her things out of the unit Thursday afternoon. The released a statement upon news of the arrest:
Our family is devastated by the additional details regarding this heinous act. Words cannot express our pain and suffering. We are extremely grateful to the Schaumburg Police Department, their detectives, and the supporting agencies for bringing the perpetrator to justice. We can now begin to grieve knowing that justice will be served.
We would also like to thank the many individuals and businesses that have assisted us through this difficult time with their kind words and actions. Please know that you are the beacon of hope in this difficult time.
The added in a separate statement, “Our family is thankful for the hard work and diligence of Schaumburg Police Department in the investigation of my sister Tiffany’s death.”
Neighbors said they would see Mejia sitting on the back of his truck in the parking lot drinking after work with friends. His unit sits just about 50 feet away from the unit where Thrasher lived.
“They’d just sit out there and stare around. They were just creepy looking. They would look at my daughter creepy. Finally I wouldn’t let her go with me to the garbage can,” Joseph Person, a neighbor said.
Mejia’s name was apparently not listed on the apartment the lease. Police said he lived there for about six months. His arrest has many neighbors relieved.
“It’s a relief. I have a one year old and I always want to know what happened,” Gabriela Kushev, a neighbor, said.
According to Thrasher’s GoFundMe page, visitation services will be held Saturday April 22 in Elk Grove.