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Texas teen found stabbed in bathtub likely stalked by illegal immigrant suspect who texted her friends: police

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Texas police believe an illegal immigrant suspect charged with murdering Lizbeth Medina, a 16-year-old girl found stabbed to death in her bathtub Dec. 5, likely stalked the teenager before he allegedly took her life.

“More than anything, I want something good to come out of this tragedy. I want to find a way that we can make better laws because, as you know, this person shouldn’t have even been here,” Lizbeth’s mother, Jacqueline Medina, told Fox News Digital. “If protocols were followed, he probably shouldn’t have even been in the country. So, I definitely want something good to come out of this in my daughter’s name. No matter how long it takes.”

Lizbeth was Jacqueline’s only daughter and her only “life’s mission.” Now, she says, her mission is to “get justice.”

“I want to prevent this from happening to another child. Our children need to be safe in our communities,” she said. “There should be no reason why there should be children afraid of people coming around — strangers, at that — and stalking them.”


Rafael Govea Romero, 23, is charged with capital murder and has been placed on an Immigration and Customs Enforcement detainer after Medina, a cheerleader at Edna High School, was found in the bathtub with “smeared blood on the sides of her and what appeared to be a stab wound to the upper stomach area,” according to a police affidavit obtained by Fox News Digital. 

“While processing the scene, it was discovered Lizbeth had multiple stab wounds, and her clothing was soaking wet, leading us to believe Lizbeth’s homicide was a criminal homicide (murder) and that her body had been washed after the murder,” Edna Police wrote in the affidavit.

Police also determined Lizbeth’s apartment had been burglarized Nov. 13, about a month before the teenager’s murder.

Jacqueline said she didn’t make the connection at first. She and Lizbeth had noticed little things that were going missing from their apartment for some time. On Nov. 13, they reported the missing belongings to police because some larger items had disappeared. 

Police arresting Rafael Govea Romero,

“After this person was caught and [police] found those specific things that were missing, that’s when I knew it was connected,” Jacqueline said. 

Officers also indicated a connection between the burglary and the murder in the affidavit.  

“I believe the burglary from 11/13/2023 could have a connection with the murder suspect,” an Edna officer wrote. “I believed the suspect of this murder was at large and a present danger to the community. I was especially concerned that the person believed to be the murder suspect was texting other high school students, leading me to believe the suspect was targeting students.


“Furthermore, I believe the public was in danger due to the stalking-like behavior displayed by the suspect via the potential connection of the 11/13/2023 burglary and driving through the apartment complex on 12/4/2023.”

Jacqueline said the stalking behavior is the “scariest part” of the tragedy that has forever altered her life since Dec. 5.

Liz Medina

“I can’t even think how a person is capable of such things,” she said. “I didn’t understand how a stranger could stalk someone. You know what I mean? I didn’t think it was real. I’ve seen it in movies, but I never once thought it was real, and that’s scary to me. I have panic attacks.”

“If you wanted to burglarize the apartment, why not just take whatever you wanted and leave her?”

— Jacqueline Medina

Edna authorities indicated Romero may have stolen Lizbeth’s phone after the murder. Lizbeth’s boyfriend tracked the 16-year-old’s location to an area about a half mile away from her apartment using his smartphone the day of her murder. The following day, Lizbeth’s cousin saw that her Snapchat sent to the victim had been opened, indicating that someone was using her phone after her death. 


Additionally, Lizbeth’s boyfriend and friend received texted replies from her number Dec. 9, the day of Lizbeth’s vigil.

“So people understand how sick this man is, Saturday, the day of my daughter’s vigil — which was, to me, magical because I know she was there and everybody who was there felt her — minutes after the vigil, one of her friends texted my daughter’s phone and just wanted to say something beautiful to her. And this person responded,” Jacqueline said.

Lizbeth Medina hugs a puppy

The friend told Lizbeth’s boyfriend, who then texted Lizbeth’s phone himself, and he also received a response.  

“At that point, they call me, and they said, ‘Jackie, someone’s responding to Elizabeth’s phone.’ My heart dropped. I said, ‘It’s him. It’s got to be him.'”

Within an hour of reporting the suspicious phone activity to Edna police, authorities were able to track the geolocation of Lizbeth’s phone to the suspect in Schulenburg, Texas, about an hour’s drive from Edna, where they arrested Romero. 

“I’m so thankful to the police department. … There were a lot of people involved, and I’m thankful to the community who helped as well. But it was the quick moves of the police department,” Jacqueline said. “They got an emergency disclosure for the geolocation for that phone and were able to track this person.”

Lizbeth Medina wearing a dress and flower crown

The suspect’s bond was set at $2 million after his arrest.

Jacqueline said she wants to keep her daughter’s memory alive and put an end to rumors about herself and her daughter.

“There are so many lies being put out in the media,” the grieving mother said. “And I don’t care at this point if they talk about me. I just want my daughter’s memory alive. … She’s not here to defend herself. She’s not here to say, ‘I didn’t know this person. This person was a stranger.’ And for these people that are heartless and speaking on my daughter’s name, that’s disgusting.”

She previously described her daughter as “an amazing, good girl.” She was “very mature” and cared deeply for her friends and family. 


“I just want everybody to know that that was an amazing child,” Jacqueline said. “She wasn’t a normal teenager getting in trouble for doing crazy stuff. She was very mature for her age. She was a caring and loving person who, as far as I know and from the messages I received, she changed a lot of people’s lives. I just want everybody to remember her that way and not the way that she was taken from me.” 

The Medina family has created a GoFundMe in its efforts to find Liz’s suspected killer, titled “Justice for Lizbeth Medina.”

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