A Florida man has been arrested and charged with murder after DNA linked him to the death of rising punk-rock star Mia Zapata in 1993, police said Saturday.
Seattle police said Jesus C. Mezquia, 48, was arrested late Friday in the Miami area. His DNA profile matched a sample taken from the crime scene more than nine years ago, police said.
Zapata, the 27-year-old lead singer of The Gits, was last seen alive July 7, 1993, in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood. Her beaten body was left on a street curb more than a mile away. She had been strangled with the drawstring of her Gits sweatshirt.
Last year, Seattle police submitted evidence from the case for DNA testing.
Initially, no match was found. But in December, a DNA profile from Mezquia, a convicted felon, was entered into the National DNA Index System and matched the sample, authorities said.
Police said subsequent investigation revealed that Mezquia had been in the Seattle area at the time of the killing.
Mezquia, of Marathon, Fla., was charged with first-degree murder and was being held without bond late Saturday at Miami-Dade County Jail, officials said. It was not immediately clear what he had been previously convicted of or whether he had obtained a lawyer.
Zapata was little-known nationally but popular locally at the height of Seattle’s grunge-rock scene in the early ’90s. Her death prompted an all-night vigil attended by 1,000 people as well as the creation of a self-defense group, Home Alive.
The Seattle music community – including its biggest names, Pearl Jam, Nirvana and Soundgarden – raised $70,000 to hire a private investigator for three years, but eventually the funds dried up.