Man arrested in slaying of 16-year-old cheerleader found dead in bathtub of Texas apartment

Police have arrested a suspect in the killing of a 16-year-old cheerleader who was found dead by her mother in her bathtub earlier this week in Edna, Texas.

The Edna Police Department located the suspect, identified as Rafael Romero, on Saturday in Schulenburg, Texas.

The Texas Rangers, who investigate major violent crime as part of the state’s Department of Public Safety, arrested Romero for capital murder — which makes the suspect eligible for the death penalty if convicted — and took him to the Jackson County Jail.

Lizbeth Medina was a cheerleader at Edna High School who aspired to become a nurse, according to her aunt Ana Medina.

Lizbeth Medina.
Lizbeth Medina.Courtesy Ana Medina

“Lizbeth was outgoing and confident — someone willing to take off her shirt to give it to someone else,” she told NBC News. “She was always there for everybody — charming, young, and full of energy. That was all just cut short.”

Her mother, Jacqueline Medina, had arrived home Tuesday evening to find her daughter unresponsive in the bathtub, according to a news release from the police department. Officers then arrived at the scene and found her dead.

Community members mourned Medina at a vigil held Saturday night.

Edna Police Chief Rick Boone wrote in a Facebook post Sunday that his officers were “dedicated to seeking justice” for the teenager.

“As you know, we are a small department and this can call for a great demand to be put on my officers,” Boone wrote. “They not only stepped up during their own shifts, but worked many hours willingly on their days off and past their own shift times.”

Born and raised in Nebraska by a single mother, Medina had been living in Texas for about a year, according to the GoFundMe set up by her family to raise money for funeral and memorial expenses.

“She was loved by many but most importantly she is loved and will be missed by the family,” Ana Medina wrote on the fundraiser page.