Ex-boyfriend, friend arrested after missing 19-year-old Valley woman found dead, deputies say

Kate Nemarich Image
Tuesday, November 28, 2023
Ex-boyfriend, friend arrested after missing 19-year-old Madera County woman found dead, deputies say
Two suspects have been arrested after a missing 19-year-old woman was found dead in Madera County.

MADERA, Calif. (KFSN) -- Two suspects have been arrested after a missing 19-year-old woman was found dead in Madera County.

The Madera County Sheriff's Office says Melanie Rios Camacho's remains were found in an orchard off Avenue 20 west of Highway 99 in Madera County.

"To the family of Melanie, we are deeply sorry for your loss. Our thoughts and prayers are with you, especially as we approach Melanie's 20th birthday, which would've been this Friday," said Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue during a press conference Monday afternoon.

Camacho was last seen leaving her job at Auto Zone in Madera around 10:15 pm Friday.

Friends and coworkers told investigators she was going to see Vicente Alejandro Jasso, whom she had dated for three months and just broken up with three days before Thanksgiving.

As detectives searched for Jasso, they soon discovered her car abandoned and on fire in a farm area off Avenue 14 near Road 8.

Photos of Vicente Jasso (left) and Jose Lopez Hernandez (right) were provided by the Madera County Sheriff's Office.

"The witness witnessed a blue Ford Mustang with a black hood pass his location on the street with one person inside, turn around near the vehicle that was on fire and then return to his location with two persons inside," explained Pogue.

That vehicle description led investigators to 22-year-old Jose Lopez Hernandez, who was arrested Sunday night for accessory to murder.

Investigators say Jasso was arrested Monday morning after leading deputies and California Highway Patrol officers on a chase from Madera to Turlock and back down to Atwater.

Authorities say along the way, Jasso threw Camacho's belongings out the window, including her driver's license.

His minivan eventually came to a stop on the side of Highway 99 after a spike strip blew out the tires.

Officers and helicopters followed Jasso into a nearby neighborhood, creating a stir as people prepared to leave for work and school.

"I woke up this morning, my daughter was saying, 'There's a man outside, do not go out there.' Then, there were maybe 30-40 cops out here, and they arrested the guy across the street at my neighbor's house," said Veronica, who lives nearby.

It was Joe Madril's yard where officers caught up with Jasso.

Madril was watching and recording the arrest from inside his home.

"Then I heard a helicopter outside. So, I went outside, and the helicopter was circling overhead. Then I heard on the bullhorn said, 'You're surrounded. Put your hands up.' As I looked over, I saw a guy coming out from between the shrubs here in my backyard," described Madril.

Full press conference: Madera County Sheriff Tyson Pogue announces 19-year-old Melanie Rios Camacho has been found dead.

The arrest of a murder suspect in his own backyard was a concerning sight for Madril but a step toward justice for the family of Camacho.

Action News has learned that Jasso has an extensive criminal history, including domestic violence dating back to 2016.

A GoFundMe account has been set up for Camacho's family.

If you are the victim of domestic abuse, or you know someone who is, there is help available 24/7. In Fresno County, call the Marjaree Mason Center at (559) 233-4357. In all other locations, call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at (800) 799-7233.

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