Ex-boyfriend charged with murder in case of missing Newburgh woman

Authorities announced Friday that they have charged an ex-boyfriend with murder in the case the 2019 disappearance of Jessica Lopez, an Orange County school aide.

News 12 Staff

Nov 7, 2020, 12:42 AM

Updated 1,316 days ago

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Authorities announced Friday that they have charged an ex-boyfriend with murder in the case the 2019 disappearance of Jessica Lopez, an Orange County school aide.
“We believe that Matthew Mercado killed her,” says Orange County District Attorney Dave Hoovler. “We consider this a domestic violence homicide in every way, shape and form.”
Authorities detailed the Newburgh teacher’s aide last known location - at the Windsor Motel with her ex-boyfriend Matthew Mercado.
The 37-year-old suspect is believed to have been with Lopez at some point between Nov 3, 2019, and Nov. 4, 2019. Although Lopez’s body has not been found, investigators say evidence shows Mercado murdered her at the hotel as she tried to get away, authorities say. Then, he allegedly stole her ATM card and disposed of her body. 
Mercado is charged with two counts of second-degree murder and grand larceny.
News 12 is told there may be challenges in proving murder without a body, but the prosectuor says it’s not the first time it’s been done.
“There’s nothing in the law that says you have to have a body to bring a prosecution. Never has been and never will be,” says District Attorney Hoovler.
Mercado has been locked up since last November when officials picked him up for allegedly burglarizing a hotel room. Authorities say the chosen room was next door to the one he shared with Lopez that fateful night. 


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