EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — An East Haven man charged in the killing of the mother of his child appeared before a judge Monday.
Jonathan X. Jara-Aucapina, 27, of East Haven was arrested Sunday in connection with the July killing of Lizzbeth Aleman-Popoca.
In a press conference Sunday morning, East Haven Police, who were all wearing some variation of purple to recognize domestic violence victims, reported Jara-Aucapina, Aleman-Popoca’s “long-time, live-in boyfriend” and father of her 8-year-old daughter, was arrested in connection to her death.
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Aleman-Popoca’s family said Sunday, “Lizzbeth was a vibrant mother, daughter, and sister” and thanked the East Haven police for their hard work. They say this has ruined their lives and “let this be a light at the end of the tunnel for other families.”
Jara-Aucapina was arrested Sunday at Cody’s Diner in New Haven without incident.
He is charged with murder, is being held on $2 million bond, and he had to turn over his passport.
Jara-Aucapina was arraigned via video chat Monday. He is due back in court Jan. 18, 2021.
Outside the courtroom Monday, Aleman-Popoca’s family spoke. They’re upset it took this long to make an arrest in the case.
Nika Zarazvand, a friend of the victim said, “I think the six months of silence really gave him ample time to silence the family who knew all along. They could not say his name because they could have been legally battled by his lawyer. And when we say ‘he has every protection of the law’, we mean it. When police take six months to arrest him, they gave him time to escape, they gave him time to travel without the judge taking away his passport.”
Another friend came forward and said, “When women come forward, when children come forward and speak about abuse, about the killing of woman, that needs to be taken seriously.”
East Haven Police said of the investigation, “Lead investigators, Sergeant Jeffrey Vailette and Officer Anthony Fiorillo learned during the investigation that Jonathan Jara-Aucapina concocted a story that Lizzbeth had run off when he knew that she was already dead. He then used this story to lie to her family, her loved ones, and then eventually law enforcement when her family forced him to report her missing. After his initial missing person’s report, Jonathan Jara-Aucapina continued to lie to investigators, and also tried to conceal where he had buried her. After reviewing countless pieces of evidence and conducting hundreds of hours of interviews, investigators were finally able to secure a warrant for his arrest.”
“Domestic violence has no place in our community and we strive as an agency to combat spousal abuse and all forms of domestic violence at all costs,” East Haven police said.
Police found the body of the 27-year-old buried in a shallow grave near a dumpster behind LoMonaco’s Ristorante Italiano. She had been missing for two weeks before her body was found.
Jara-Aucapina worked part-time as a dishwasher at that restaurant for at least seven years.
The Chief State Medical Examiner’s Office ruled her death as homicidal asphyxiation.