Madeline Pantoja, who had been reported missing from Midland, was found dead on May 20 near East County Road 190 and South County Road 1138.
Mario Chacon, who was with her, was arrested for her murder soon after her body was found.
The arrest document says that Chacon and Pantoja had problems in their relationship before Pantoja went missing. Investigators from the MPD talked to Pantoja’s family and friends about the day she disappeared.
Several of Pantoja’s friends told police officers on May 11 that they had planned to go swimming at Pantoja’s apartment complex, but when they got there, Pantoja didn’t answer their calls or texts. When they knocked on Pantoja’s door, she didn’t answer either. One of Pantoja’s friends saw that the door to his flat was cracked and a light was on.
The friend went to get food, but before he left, he called another friend to let her know what was going on. Then, court papers say, several of Pantoja’s friends went back to her apartment and knocked on her door. The friend who first saw that the light was on now saw that it was off. Friends of Pantoja called his brother and told him what was going on.
According to the arrest document, Pantoja’s brother called Chacon to ask if he had heard from Pantoja. Her brother told police that Chacon was vague and didn’t seem worried that Pantoja hadn’t been heard from. Chacon said that he had spent the whole day with his dad and not with Pantoja.
Chacon didn’t seem to want to talk to Pantoja’s friends when they called. When Chacon called Pantoja back, he told his friends, “He had witnesses for today and has been at his house all day.”
The building’s maintenance staff let Pantoja’s friends into the room. The friends told MPD officers that Pantoja’s purse, car keys, and phone were all in the flat. This is written in the arrest affidavit. They told the police that her car was parked in the lot.
The friends also told the police that Pantoja’s dog had neither food nor water and that the dog’s waste was all over the puppy pads. In Pantoja’s living room, there was also no table. Pantoja’s friends told the police that she would never do these things and that she never leaves her dog alone for more than two hours at a time.
The tweet below verifies the news:
Court documents reveal the man accused of murdering a West Texas woman was in a relationship with the victim. https://t.co/YYN6zAl3L6
— KWTX News 10 (@kwtx) May 23, 2023
The court papers show that MPD officers got the people who take care of Pantoja’s room to let them in. The floor was sticky, and there was a mop and a dirty bucket of water next to the front door. When police asked Pantoja’s friends if Chacon had a key to the flat, one of them said she had seen him get in before with a key.
MPD officers also talked to neighbors, who said that a man and a woman were yelling in the apartment at 1:30 a.m., but the neighbor fell back asleep because there was always yelling coming from that apartment.
Officers asked the neighbor if she had heard someone scream like they were scared, and the neighbor said she had heard a woman scream.
On May 12, early in the morning, MPD called Chacon to set up a volunteer interview. According to court papers, Chacon said that he last saw Pantoja on May 10 at around 9 p.m.
On May 12, around 11 a.m., MPD got a call to check on Pantoja’s apartment. The caller said there was a woman inside, but when officers got there, no one answered the door. The arrest document says that police went into Pantoja’s apartment because he was a missing person.
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Officers found the Mop and Dirty Water
Officers found the mop and dirty water while looking for Pantoja. Officers also saw a hole in the bathroom door and a hole in the bedroom door where hair was stuck.
In the arrest document, it says that the comforter on the bed was missing and the bed sheet had a dark red stain, but Pantoja was not there.
Based on what Pantoja’s friends and family said about her disappearance and what police found in her apartment on May 12, agents thought something was wrong.
Court records show that cops talked to Chacon again on May 12 at 5:45 p.m. and told him he could leave at any time. Chacon said that on May 10, he went out for drinks with his cousin and dropped him off at his apartment, which was in the same building as Pantoja’s.
He then went home around 11 p.m. Chacon said that he was the only one who drove his truck in the month of May and that he didn’t leave his house after 11 p.m. on May 10.
MPD detectives looked at security camera video that showed a pickup truck that looked like Chacon’s truck near Pantoja’s apartment. This truck was near an oil company off Montgomery near Pantoja’s apartment. The security camera video showed that it was 1:59 a.m.
The statement says that at 3:22 a.m., a Flock camera caught Chacon’s car’s license plate in the area of South County Road 1160.
On May 18, MPD officers talked to Chacon again and told him he could leave whenever he wanted. The affidavit says that when Chacon was told that cops had found lies in his timeline, he said that was fine and asked to leave.
The affidavit says that during this interview, officers tried to do a polygraph on Chacon, but he resisted.
In the affidavit, investigators said that on May 13, they got a search request for Chacon’s phone number. The records were sent to the Texas Rangers on May 20. From May 10 to May 12, the guards mapped the phone’s geo-locations.
The phone’s GPS showed that it was around East County Road 190 and South County Road 1138, which is about a mile away. Both the MPD and the Texas Rangers did a search in that area. The arrest document says that Pantoja’s body was found there.
Chacon has been charged with killing her, and her body is being sent to Dallas for an autopsy.
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