Missing Mesa woman arrested; Burned body found in desert

by kpho.com

MESA, AZ (CBS5) - A Mesa woman who was reported missing Thursday after an apparent struggle at her apartment is one of four people arrested in connection with brutal homicide, police said.

Vanessa Mendoza, 27, was among those taken into custody after the victim's burned body was found in the desert.

Mendoza's boyfriend, Genaro Silva, 31, admitted to killing Daniel Barraza Gomez, 39, March 15 at her apartment near Dobson Road and Southern Avenue, according to Mesa police Spokesman Steve Berry.

Investigators said Silva walked into Mendoza's apartment to find Mendoza and Gomez together. Silva picked up a hammer and struck Gomez several times, killing him, Berry said.

Mendoza's mother, 44-year-old Sylvia Olivas, and Silva's acquaintance, 43-year-old Christopher Alejo arrived at the apartment a short time later.

Alejo reportedly stole money from the victim and then helped Silva roll the body in bedding to remove it from the apartment, Berry said.

The victim was loaded into a vehicle and driven to a desert location on the Salt River Pima Indian Community, where it was placed in a dry wash, covered in gasoline and set on fire, Berry said.

Silva told officers where they could find the body and detectives were able to locate and recover the remains, Berry said.

Genaro Silva was booked into jail on one count of second-degree murder, hindering prosecution and concealment of a dead body.

Mendoza faces charges of hindering prosecution and concealment of a dead body.

Alejo was booked on charges of robbery, hindering prosecution and concealment of a dead body.

Sylvia faces charges of concealment of a dead body.