A Fort Worth man was jailed Wednesday on accusations that he sexually assaulted and squeezed to death a 67-year-old mental health patient after a chance encounter at a convenience store.
Miguel Piedra, 49, was arrested on a capital murder warrant early Wednesday. He was being held in the Mansfield jail with bail set at $500,000.
“He was voluntarily interviewed in reference to this case and has admitted to sexually assaulting the 67-year-old victim and squeezing her until she was no longer moving,” said homicide Detective Kyle Sullivan.
The victim’s body was found Sunday afternoon just outside Echo Lake Park by a passerby, according to homicide Sgt. Joe Loughman.
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The woman’s identity had not been released as of Wednesday afternoon as authorities were still trying to reach her next of kin.
Investigators believe Piedra encountered the woman, a Mental Health Mental Retardation client, between 9 and 9:30 p.m. Saturday outside a convenience store in the 4800 block of James Avenue, not far from a group home where the woman resided, Loughman said.
Loughman said the encounter was captured on surveillance cameras outside the store. In the video, he said, it appears the victim got into the man’s car voluntarily.
“It is unclear if he offered her a ride or if she asked him for a ride,” Loughman said. “He exited his vehicle and spoke to the victim without being spoken to by the victim.”
The next afternoon, a passerby found the woman’s body near the 1200 block of Atkins Street, east of Echo Lake Park.
Loughman declined to reveal how homicide detectives linked Piedra to the crime. He said Piedra was arrested at his Fort Worth home.
Court records show Piedra was convicted in 2007 in Tarrant County of driving while intoxicated-misdemeanor repetition and sentenced to 45 days in jail.