Family of East Haven mother killed over the summer says arrest of her live-in boyfriend is bittersweet, overdue

New Haven

EAST HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — An East Haven man has been charged in the killing of the mother of his child. The family of the victim, Lizzbeth Aleman-Popoca, spoke with only News 8 Monday. They said this is the news they have been waiting for, but it is bittersweet.

RELATED: ‘Long-time boyfriend’ arrested in connection to July killing of East Haven mother appears in court

Aleman-Popoca’s body was found buried in a shallow grave behind a dumpster at a restaurant in Branford back in July. She had been missing two weeks when her body was discovered.

Her family said they suspected her long-time, live-in boyfriend and father of her daughter, 27-year-old Jonathan Jara-Aucapina, from the beginning.

Police said Jara-Aucapina lied to both the victim’s family and the police, stirring an investigation that took months to secure a warrant for his arrest.

After five months of investigation, police arrested Jara-Aucapina and charged him with the murder.

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The victim’s family said up until the arrest on Sunday, they felt as though justice would not be served.

They said it’s bittersweet. On one side, you have a man behind bars for allegedly killing his girlfriend, and on the other side, a little girl will now be without her mother and father.

Aleman-Popoca’s sister told News 8, the battle for justice is far from over.

Related: Death of East Haven mother whose body was found behind Branford restaurant ruled homicidal asphyxiation

Yaneth Alemán said her life has not been the same since her sister was found dead.

“She was basically the only thing I had in life, and for him to know that and kill her and to take that away from me and my niece it’s a lot…This person was free for so long, and we knew it from the beginning it was him. He lied to us; he lied to my family; he lied to the police, and there were a lot of things that didn’t add up since the beginning.”

Jara-Aucapina was able to walk free for months, an especially traumatizing experience for the family, who said they knew all along that something wasn’t right.

Yaneth added, “I know my sister, I know she would have never left her baby alone. I know she wouldn’t run to another country like he said she did…It’s pretty traumatizing to go through this — every weekend, seeing him with my niece, doing visitations and it was rough.”

Yaneth said she and her family have a long road ahead and, even more difficult, living without her best friend.

One thing she says she is thankful for: “Now that the person that took my sister is behind bars. My only hope is he stays there.”

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