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Thursday 18 July, 2024
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Mario Juan Chacon arrested in death of Madeline Pantoja

BY Anas Shah May 22, 2023. 01:51 am UPDATED: May 22, 2023. 01:51 am

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The body of a missing 20-year-old Texas woman was discovered Saturday, 10 days after she went missing, according to police.

According to Midland County Sheriff’s records, Mario Juan Chacon, 24, was arrested on first-degree murder charges in connection with the death of Madeline Pantoja.

Police did not provide any additional information about Pantoja’s death other than that it was a homicide pending the results of an autopsy.

Pantoja was last seen around 11 p.m. on May 10 after a night out with friends in Midland, which is about 300 miles west of Dallas.

When she couldn’t be reached the next day, friends and family became suspicious — the young woman had left her phone, purse keys and dog at her flat.

After a week of no progress in the search for Pantoja, worried loved ones became increasingly enraged.

KTSM reported that about 100 people protested outside the Midland Police Department headquarters on Thursday to demand “justice” for what they claimed was a “lack of investigation” by the police.

Friends suspected Pantoja’s ex-boyfriend — with whom she had recently broken up and who had a key to her flat — was to blame, but he had not been publicly identified as a suspect.

Mario Juan Chacon

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Madeline Pantoja

Pantoja’s neighbours told the outlet that the night she went missing, they heard a man and a woman arguing inside her flat.

Midland police were unable to confirm whether Chacon was Pantoja’s ex-girlfriend right away.

Midland Mayor Lori Blong said Friday that police were “tirelessly searching for and gathering information and evidence” in the missing person’s case, and that they were working with the Midland County Sheriff’s Office, Texas Rangers, Federal Bureau of Investigation, and Department of Homeland Security.

According to Chief of Police Seth Herman, the department searched 60 square miles of remote property with on-the-ground personnel, drones, and aircraft, executed over a dozen search warrants, interviewed 25 people, and was investigating 20 tips in the lead-up to Pantoja’s body’s discovery.

 

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