Chicago Police have arrested a 47-year-old man in Minnesota in connection with the 2009 assault and murder of a 12-year-old girl, and the victim's mother feels she is finally getting justice.
Police Supt. Garry McCarthy said DNA evidence led detectives to Rene Valentin-Matos, charged with criminal sexual assault and murder this week in the homicide of Jahmeshia Conner. Valentin-Matos also was charged with criminal sexual assault in an unrelated case.
Conner's mother, Birdie Lewis, says she never had a doubt an arrest would be made.
"I'm going to ask him why did he do it. Why did he take my angel from me. Why?" Lewis told NBC 5. "It's the fault of the person who did it to my child, it's his fault, so he have to pay, so I got to see him and he got to see me."
Conner was reported missing by family members in November 2009 after she didn't return home after visiting an aunt. About two weeks later, a passerby saw her body in an alley in the 6400 block of South Marshfield, just blocks from her home.
Earlier this year the Illinois State Crime Lab notified police that a DNA sample recovered from another sexual assault victim matched DNA evidence found at the scene of the 2009 homicide. McCarthy said detectives obtained an arrest warrant for Valentin-Matos in January and began a worldwide search to find him.
Valentin-Matos was found living in the area of Cold Spring, Minnesota, McCarthy said. Cold Spring Police located and arrested him without incident at his home, and Chicago Police worked with local authorities to gather evidence to submit to the crime lab.
McCarthy said the DNA from Valentin-Matos was determined to match DNA found at the crime scene where Conner's body was found.
Valentin-Matos was extradited to Chicago on Tuesday and charged. He is scheduled to appear in bond court on Thursday.