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Deadly stabbing suspect turns himself in

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The search for a man wanted in the late-night murder of a Lancaster man last weekend ended late Tuesday, Sept. 30, after he turned himself in to investigators.

Carmen Martinez Mendez, 49, 1028 Sara Drive, is charged with murder, forgery and financial identity fraud enabling an unlawfully present alien to live or work in the United States, according to a Lancaster Police Department press release. 

The two latter charges are unrelated to the murder, said Lancaster Police Capt. Scott Grant in the release. 

Police had been searching for Mendez since late Saturday, Sept. 27, as a person of interest in the stabbing death of Cesar Solis-Vasquez, 32.

Solis-Vasquez’s body was discovered that night in the back yard of a home in the 900 block of High Lane, according to an initial press release. 

Officers responded to the home just before midnight about a reported fight between two men, a police report said.

Officers arrived and spoke with the homeowner who said that someone had beat on his back door and he said at first, he thought someone was trying to get inside, the report said.

The homeowners told police they had no idea who was fighting, but could hear a disturbance outside. 

When officers searched the back yard, they noted in the report they found blood on the ground and also noticed a rear storm door was covered in blood.

After a further search, they found Solis-Vasquez face down in the back yard. Solis-Vasquez had received multiple slashes, stab wounds and cuts over his torso, head, hands and arms, the release said. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Lancaster County Deputy Coroner Tony Broome said early Tuesday that Solis-Vasquez died from blood loss associated with lacerations. Grant also confirmed the victim had most likely been attacked with a large cutting instrument, possibly a knife. 

Mendez, turned himself in Tuesday and provided officers with a voluntary statement admitting to stabbing Solis-Vasquez once in the chest and once in the neck, the latest release said. 

The investigators later learned the assault started in the driveway of 961 High Lane and ended in the back yard of 965 High Lane. 

Also during the investigation, officers learned they had reversed Mendez’s middle and last names during a previous press release. 

A bond hearing was held for Mendez on Wednesday afternoon and his bond was denied. He remains jailed at the Lancaster County Detention Center. 

On Wednesday, Grant thanked the multiple agencies for assisting with the case. 

The Lancaster Police Department would like to acknowledge the assistance of the Lancaster County Sheriff’s Office, the (S.C.) Law Enforcement Division (SLED) and the South Carolina Department of Public Safety Immigration Enforcement Unit. Their assistance was invaluable during this investigation,” Grant said in the release. 

 

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli at (803) 416-8416