Suspect arrested in killing of teenager near Snohomish

SNOHOMISH — Authorities have caught up with the man suspected of fatally shooting a teenager outside Snohomish.

Prosecutors late last week secured a $1 million arrest warrant for Edgar Omar Alejandre, 20. Alejandre is accused of gunning down Fernando Mendoza, 18, and burying his body in a shallow grave in some woods off Dubuque Road, northeast of Snohomish.

Federal marshals on Monday arrested Alejandre in Oxnard, Calif., about an hour west of Los Angeles, according to Snohomish County sheriff’s spokeswoman Shari Ireton. Investigators believe he’d been on the run since July.

The deadly shooting came to the attention of sheriff’s detectives earlier this month after neighbors discovered Mendoza’s remains. The teenager had been shot three times in the chest with a shotgun.

A man-tracking team found drag patterns leading to the burial site from an area near a house on 159th Drive SE. The suspect had been staying at the house with friends.

Detectives believe Mendoza was killed July 2. That was the day that the Mount Vernon teen told relatives that he was going to Everett to collect a drug debt, court papers said. He said he’d be back shortly for another appointment. He never returned and his family reported him missing the next day.

According to witnesses, Mendoza showed up July 2 at the house on 159th Drive SE. One witness said he heard gunfire from the back of the property near a barn that abuts Dubuque Road.

He went outside and reportedly saw Alejandre holding a shotgun. The barrel was pointed at Mendoza, who was lying in a pool of blood, court papers said.

Alejandre reportedly was distraught and recruited another man to help him dispose of the slain man’s body. They allegedly dragged Mendoza into the woods. After disposing of the body, Alejandre was seen cleaning up blood from the front of the barn, Snohomish County deputy prosecutor Janice Albert wrote in court documents. A witness saw him wrap the shotgun in a shirt and leave it in the garage. He put his bloodied clothes in feed bags and dropped them in the garage, too, court papers said.

Alejandre and two other men then reportedly drove the slain man’s Lincoln to Marysville, where they abandoned it outside a business. The owner told police that the vehicle had been parked there since July 2. Investigators found blood inside the vehicle.

Detectives also retrieved a black shotgun from under a bed in the Snohomish-area house. They found a bleach container near the barn, court papers said.

One of Mendoza’s friends reportedly called the defendant the day after the shooting. The suspect said the teen had never shown up for their meeting. Cellphone records show that Mendoza called the suspect several times on July 2. The last call originated from cell towers near the house on 159th Drive SE.

Prosecutors have charged Alejandre with second-degree murder. Sheriff’s detectives traveled to California in an effort to speak with him. Alejandre is expected to be brought back to Snohomish County.

Diana Hefley: 425-339-3463;

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