An illegal immigrant strangled a 49-year-old beloved teacher’s aide to death in her home in suburban Worcester, Massachusetts.
Jose Melendez, 54, was declared the murder by police. Melendez has had a series of run-ins with the law, and should have been deported, if police had not covered for him and called in ICE.
Sandra Hehir was his victim this time. Beloved by her community, with neighbors reeling in shock, Hehir’s body was found inside her home after she didn’t show up for work, very unlikely for her character.
Melendez had been in court previously for a breaking and entering case back in 2014. He also has two drug charges. Clearly a dangerous criminal.
The Daily Mail explains why police didn’t deport him sooner:
The Worcester district attorney’s office said it obtained DNA evidence which links Jose Melendez, 54, to the crime.
Melendez, who was arrested last week, has a history of run-ins with law enforcement.
He reportedly defaulted on probation in 2014 in a breaking and entering case, and he also faces charges in two drug cases in Worcester.
Melendez was arraigned on murder charges in Worcester District Court on Monday. His next hearing is scheduled for April 13.
He has also faced criminal charges in New York and Florida.
An official with Immigration and Customs Enforcement confirmed to Daily Mail Online on Friday that the agency had placed a detainer on Melendez on March 20 – the day that he was arraigned.
Colleagues began to worry about her well-being when she did not show up to school on February 6, according to MassLive.
‘All her life she was a very kind person,’ School Superintendent Maureen F. Binienda told the Worcester Telegram & Gazette when asked about Hehir.
‘I really hope that people join together and try to find who did this.’
Binienda said that she taught a young Hehir when she attended South High Community School, from which she graduated in 1985.
‘Great athlete, very smart – had a lot of friends,’ Binienda said.
‘Lots of friends – everybody knew Buffy.’
‘Buffy’ was a nickname that Hehir was often referred to.
‘She was just a wonderful person,’ Hehir’s former brother-in-law, John Bradley, said.
‘Very friendly, sociable, very healthy – very into running and taking care of herself.’
Hehir overcame a great deal of adversity in her life. Her father died when she was very young, and she had to quit her job and stay home to care for her dying mother, who would eventually succumb to cancer.