AUSTIN, Texas - Austin Police have arrested a man they describe as a serial killer.
It comes more than 40 years after Meza pled guilty to raping and murdering an eight-year-old girl in South Austin.
The U.S. Marshals Service Lone Star Fugitive Task Force arrested Meza on North Lamar Blvd. near Parmer Ln. in North Austin on May 29 – five days after they say he confessed over the phone to two local murders.
"The caller stated, My name is Raul Meza, and you're looking for me," said Det. Patrick Reed with the Austin Police Department.
Reed says he confessed to the stabbing death of his roommate, Jesse Fraga, 80, in Pflugerville.
"Meza then went on to detail his relationship with Jesse Fraga and detailed the manner in which he murdered Mr. Fraga," said Reed.
Fraga was found stabbed to death May 20 at a home on Camp Fire Trail in the Settlers Ridge Neighborhood, and police say Meza took off in Fraga’s car.
Meza hung up the phone, but after learning he frequented hotels along I-35, the task force worked to track him down.
"Going door to door, going hotel to hotel," said Deputy U.S. Marshal Brendan Filla. "They approached, surrounded him and took him into custody within a blink of an eye"
Austin police have arrested a man in connection with the death of an 80-year-old man in Pflugerville. Photo courtesy: Pflugerville Police Department
Meza's rap sheet dates back to 1975 when he shot and wounded a man in a robbery.
Then in 1982, he raped and murdered 8-year-old Kendra Page, leaving her body in a dumpster outside Langford Elementary School in Southeast Austin.
As part of a plea deal, Meza was sentenced to 30 years in prison, but was released on parole in 1993 after serving just 11 years.
"Somebody made a bad decision 40, 41 years ago and let this guy, for whatever reason, manipulate the system and justice was not served," said former Austin Assistant Police Chief Bruce Mills, who is currently serving as an interim assistant city manager.
In 1994 Meza was arrested on a parole violation, and spent the next two decades in and out of prison, on and off of parole.
Police found DNA linking Meza to Lofton’s murder, but believe this is just the tip of the iceberg.
"We have between eight and ten cases that kind of fit these similar circumstances that we're looking at. But that could obviously grow," said Det. Katy Conner of the Austin Police Department.
When authorities finally captured Meza, he had a bag that contained duct tape, zip ties, a firearm, and additional rounds of ammunition. Police say he may have been planning more murders.
"Mr. Meza said he was ready and prepared to kill again and he was looking forward to it," said Reed.
Officials say they’re relieved that Meza is behind bars, but beyond frustrated that he was ever allowed back on the streets in the first place.
"It was a travesty of justice," said Mills. "We don't know how many more people he killed or would have killed."
Meza is being held at the Travis County Jail. He’s currently facing three charges including two counts of capital murder and unauthorized use of a motor vehicle.