Police arrested a man on Monday they said allegedly murdered a 12-year-old girl last month after she texted her mother that somebody was knocking on their door.
Yhoana Arteaga was last seen around 12:30 p.m. on Aug. 10 when she had lunch with her mother at their Nashville home, according to WKRN. The girl then texted her mother around 5:30 p.m. to say someone was knocking on the door.
When the girl's mother returned home about an hour later with Arteaga's 14-year-old sister and 10-year-old brother, she found her daughter's body, police said.
Roy Coons, 45, who lived two doors down from the Arteaga family, was arrested on Monday.
Lt. William Mackall had previously said that it was believed the victim knew her assailant since there were no obvious signs of forced entry into the house.
"This is a horrible, brutal thing," Sgt. David Kautzman of the Metro Nashville Police Department said at a press conference in August. "I've never see anything this brutal in my entire career."
Police said Arteaga died from strangulation and suffered blunt force trauma and hemorrhaging and had bruises around her face and neck.
“An examination of the crime scene, as well as autopsy results, show that Yhoana was, frankly, brutally murdered,” Aaron said at Tuesday's press conference.
Coons was charged with first-degree premeditated murder, first-degree felony murder, attempted rape of a child, and aggravated burglary, according to the Metro Nashville Police Department.
Scientific evidence including DNA helped lead police to Coons, officials said, adding that he has a lengthy criminal record with 30 convictions since 1992.
Arteaga was a seventh-grade student at Liberty Collegiate Academy. Police said she did not attend classes the week of her death because she was home recovering from a roller-skating injury.
"Our hearts are broken as we mourn the loss of Yhoana Arteaga," the school posted on its Facebook page when she died.
"Our thoughts are with Yhoana's family during this incredible difficult time ... We love you, Yhoana."
Mary Ann Georgantopoulos is a reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
Contact Mary Ann Georgantopoulos at email@example.com.
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