Suspect in 17 Year Old Murder Case Found, Arrested in Fresno
Photo: Frank Gallas Mendoza
FRESNO – A 17 year old murder case now has a suspect under arrest.
On December 20, 2001, El Mirage Police in Arizona arrived at the home of Richard Cacero Lucero at the behest of a family friend to conduct a welfare check. The family’s friend’s instincts were on point when officers gained access to Lucero’s home and found his lifeless body.
The Maricopa County Medical Examiner’s Office determined Lucero had been murdered. The Arizona Department of Public Safety headed the investigation into Lucero’s death. However, when leads came up empty and resources ran out, the case turned cold.
Since then, technology has evolved many times over, giving cold cases another opportunity at justice. For this particular case, DNA and latent print analysis techniques had progressed enough to run prints found at the murder scene through FBI’s Next Generation Identification system. The system came back with a name: Frank Gallas Mendoza.
Mendoza lived in Fresno at the time the FBI system named him. Arizona detectives reached out to Fresno detectives. Then together they arrested Mendoza at his home without resistance on September 24, 2018.
Richard Cacero Lucero’s family and friends have waited for this moment for almost 17 years. Authorities will soon extradite Mendoza to Arizona to answer for his alleged crime committed so many years ago.