"It was I who found her dead in the bathroom. It was not the police," her mother said.
Trigger Warning: The following content contains mentions of domestic violence, assault, and murder, which may be distressing to some readers.
A mom's instincts helped catch her daughter's killer after she "sensed something was wrong" with her. Mirelle Mateus, 24, of La Palma, was allegedly murdered by her ex-boyfriend Aaron Romo, 36, of Anaheim.
Alice Mateus, the victim's mother, told ABC7 that she went to her daughter's ex-boyfriend's house after getting the unsettling sensation that something had happened to her daughter. She claimed she found the horrific scene after opening the unlocked front door. "That is when I found my daughter dead in the bathroom," Alice said. "It was I who found her dead in the bathroom. It was not the police. The system failed me."
The police were called to the scene and immediately started to search for Romo. The Anaheim Police Department shared in a release on Facebook that he was arrested last week on a murder charge. Investigators are urging any additional possible victims to come forward because they think Romo has previously assaulted other women. According to the press release, the police department did not "elaborate on evidence or discuss possible motives." According to court documents cited by PEOPLE, Romo was accused in December of two felonies—corporal injury to a spouse or cohabitant and false imprisonment—as well as misdemeanor charges of battery and resisting arrest. He was detained and released on bail.
"She came to illuminate our lives," grieving mom Alice said. "Ever since she was born, that light in her eyes, the angel that God gifted to me at that moment, changed our lives forever," she shared. "My little girl was a miracle in my life," Alice said.
Sandy Mateus, the victim's sister, has started a GoFundMe fundraiser to assist the family as they come to terms with losing a "hard worker, loving daughter, amazing sister, the best aunt to her niece and nephews, (and) great friend." The victim was described in the fundraiser as a "very special caring generous person with a heart so pure and full of love." The family stated that they're raising funds for funeral expenses, adding, "In the process of bringing justice to her, we ask for any kind of donation even sharing this link will be gratefully appreciated. All donations will be used to give my baby the best burial she deserves."
We are deeply disheartened by this tragedy that occurred last week. Her name was Mirelle Mateus. Mirelle's mother Alice felt something was wrong and sadly was the one who discovered her daughter's body. Our hearts and prayers go out to the Mateus family during this tragic time. pic.twitter.com/EcZrJwDa6j— Human Options (@HumanOptions) March 22, 2023
The loss of their loved one is unbearable for Mirelle's family, and as they wait for justice and demand it, their sorrow has grown into anger. "My Mirelle didn't deserve that death that man gave her," said Alice. "She didn't deserve it, and if there are women that know this man, please say something. Don't be afraid."
"Please don't stay silent. Report any incident of domestic violence so that what happened to my daughter doesn't happen to them," she concluded.
Cover Image Source: Facebook | ANAHEIM POLICE DEPARTMENT