A Texan man suspected of ambushing and murdering his former girlfriend returned to the location of the crime three days later, where he met his own demise through suicide next to a memorial erected in her honor, as reported by a police department in the Houston area.
Authorities in Pasadena, Texas, situated approximately 15 miles southeast of Houston, revealed to various media outlets on Thursday that Juan Carlos Mata, a 20-year-old individual, was discovered deceased near a makeshift memorial that had been set up a few days earlier. This memorial was erected after Mata allegedly shot and killed his ex-girlfriend, 19-year-old Lesley Reyes, in the parking lot of her apartment building.
Mata had reportedly been evading the police since Monday night when Pasadena Police Sergeant Raul Granados informed local KHOU11 that investigators believed he had murdered his former girlfriend.
“The suspect remained at the scene and walked away. Our officers were unable to pursue him because they immediately tended to the victim and tragically discovered that she had passed away. By the time they attempted to locate him, he had already disappeared,” Granados stated to the outlet.
Upon receiving a report regarding a suspicious individual in the parking lot, the same location where Reyes was believed to have been killed by Mata, officers arrived and witnessed Mata fleeing behind a vehicle and retrieving a shotgun. Subsequently, he turned the weapon on himself, resulting in his death at the scene, as relayed by local KPRC.
Reyes’ family initiated a fundraiser on GoFundMe this week to cover funeral expenses, describing her as “a radiant and exquisite soul who was taken from us prematurely.”
Juan Carlos Mata, the suspect in the homicide of Lesley Reyes, returned this morning and ultimately took his own life. Mata was the suspect in the homicide of Lesley Reyes. Juan Carlos Mata. PASADENA POLICE DEPARTMENT Juan Carlos Mata, the suspect in the homicide of Lesley Reyes, returned this morning and ultimately took his own life. Mata was the suspect in the homicide of Lesley Reyes. Lesley Reyes.
Reyes’ family informed the outlet that on Monday, they heard gunshots at around midnight and rushed outside, only to find the 19-year-old injured in the parking lot. The family characterized Mata as a “toxic” presence in Reyes’ life and indicated that he was “fixated” on her and engaged in an “abusive” relationship with her.
According to the family’s account shared with KHOU11, the couple had ended their relationship after approximately a year of dating. They mentioned that Reyes had been saddened by the breakup but had recently shown signs of improvement.
“You could sense that she was picking herself up again,” remarked Reyes’ sister, Lourdes Martinez, to the outlet. “She was doing well.”
Martinez mentioned that the family had interacted with Mata in the past. “We welcomed him into our home,” she said. “We were very accepting of him, and now, he has caused immense pain to our family.”
The sister told KHOU11 that Reyes had developed a keen interest in car maintenance and had been working on repairing vehicles.
“She was an incredibly kind girl,” her sister affirmed. “She always went above and beyond for others. If you asked her for help, she would readily assist without hesitation.”
Reports indicate that the police are currently investigating the murder-suicide. However, Pasadena police did not respond immediately to PEOPLE’s request for additional information regarding the investigation on Friday morning.