Arrest Warrants Issued In Connection with Shooting Death of Bethel Heights Teen

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Two arrest warrants have been issued in connection with a Bethel Heights teen who was found shot to death inside a car on December 6, 2018, according to a Washington County Court affidavit.

Romeo Arnulfo Chinchilla, 29, from Lowell, Arkansas, and Jose Ivan Mendoza, 19, from Springdale, Arkansas, are named in a Dec. 10,  “affidavit for warrant of arrest,” for Hindering Apprehension, a Class B Felony.  Mendoza was booked into Washington County jail on Friday, January 4.  Chinchella is jailed in California on other charges not related to the arrest warrant, according to Springdale police. 

A Springdale police detective gave a reasonable cause statement to the court about a Dec. 6 shooting in the area of 1986 Timberline — another address listed in a prior police report was 1600 block of Pioneer Street.  

A man was found shot to death in a car that crashed in the driveway of a home.  The victim was later identified as Javier Nicolas-Rodriguez, 19, from Springdale, according to Springdale police.

Anjel Torres, 18, from Springdale, was arrested in Southern California by the US Marshals Office and California Highway Patrol on Monday, December 10.  He was returned to Arkansas about 2 weeks later and is jailed at the Washington County Detention Center on 1st Degree Murder and other felonies.  His bail is $500,000.  He has a court hearing on Wednesday, January 9.

Authorities were able to make a connection between Torres and Mendoza, and that they were close friends and may be together, according to the affidavit.  

On December 7, investigators began tracking Mendoza’s cell phone and found he was in the area of Holbrook, Arizona. Gas station surveillance video also showed Chinchilla at the gas station in a vehicle.  Investigators determined the car they were in was registered to a relative of Chinchilla’s. Hours later, with the help of a “Be on the Lookout (BOLO)” alert, the car was found on the side of the road in Barstow, California — more than 400 miles from Holbrook. 

The three suspects were in the car, Torres, Mendoza and Chinchilla.  Mendoza and Chinchilla were taken in custody by the Marshal’s Office, according to the affidavit.  

A Washington County bond has been set at $50,000 each for Chinchella and Mendoza for a felony charge of Hindering Apprehension.  Their court date is January 18, 2019.  Again, Chinchilla is jailed in California on unrelated charges.

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