Medical investigators have confirmed that the deceased body, found in a field in Florida last week, is 18-year-old Jalajhia Finklea, a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe, who went missing in New Bedford on October 20.
The Bristol District Attorney, Thomas M. Quinn III, answered on Friday last week, December 4th said in a statement that Ms. Finklea’s death was murder. An autopsy by the Saint Lucie Medical Examiner’s Florida office revealed that two gunshot wounds resulted in her death.
“This is a terrible tragedy for the family and my heart goes out to them,” said District Attorney Quinn. “This brutal crime was clearly committed by someone with a depraved mind.”
Armed with a pistol, suspect Luis Zaragoza died in a confrontation with police on November 5 when U.S. marshals tried to arrest him in the parking lot of a McDonald’s in Crestview, Florida, prosecutors said.
A forensic analysis of Mr Zaragoza’s cell phone later revealed a typed note in which Mr Zaragoza explained the events of October 20, the night Ms. Finklea last got into a car with Mr Zaragoza in New Bedford, prosecutors said With.
In the note, Mr Zaragoza said that while Ms. Finklea was in his car on Coggeshall Street in New Bedford he was “caught,” prosecutors said. “She’s gone,” he wrote in the note that prosecutors said he had also detailed Mr. Zaragoza’s depression.
He went on to give turn-by-turn directions on where Ms. Finklea could be found and directed law enforcement to discover Ms. Finklea’s body in a field off Route 95 on Nov. 25, prosecutors said.
Before Mr. Zaragoza was killed, he was traveling south along the east coast to Florida, then to Texas, and then back to Florida, prosecutors said. In the course of the investigation, law enforcement agencies found security material from some of Mr Zaragoza’s trips, but none of them showed Ms. Finklea.
Police also located Ms. Finklea’s discarded cellphone on Route 140 in New Bedford, about five miles from where she first got into Mr. Zaragoza’s vehicle, which was rented from Boston Logan International Airport announced the prosecutor.
“Our deepest condolences to the Jalajhia family,” the Mashpee Wampanoag tribe said in a statement. “We hold them fast in our prayers at this sad time. We have to be there for them and each other. “
on MondayDecember 7thThe Mashpee Board of Selectmen held a moment of silence in memory of Ms. Finklea at the request of Selectman David W. Weeden, who is also a member of the Mashpee Wampanoag Tribal Council.