Missing Woman Found Dead, Man Arrested

Madeline Pantoja | Image by Madeline Pantoja, Facebook

A woman who was reported missing more than a week ago from Midland was found dead Saturday, according to CBS7.

Madeline Pantoja, 20, was found dead approximately three miles east of C.R. 190 and C.R. 1160 on May 20. The woman’s body was identified by the jewelry she was wearing.

Pantoja was first reported missing on May 11. The next day, the Midland Police Department posted a Facebook message requesting the public’s assistance with the case.

“Midland Police need help locating Madeline Molina Pantoja, 20 years old. She was last seen at 11:00 p.m. on May 10th, 2023 at 1711 West Francis,” the post read.

“Her vehicle and phone are at her apartment so there’s no certain vehicle information right now,” the post continued.

Midland Police gave an update on May 19, detailing the search efforts and trying to assure the public they were doing everything possible to locate Pantoja.

The public disagreed and sounded off in the comments.

“That was the worst address to public I’ve ever seen in my life!! And it look liked they were upset they even had to do it in my opinion,” Lorene Hudson commented on the department’s Facebook page.

Another user expressed that the Midland PD should apologize to Pantoja’s parents.

“Y’all failed her parents by not reporting to them sooner they deserve an apology,” wrote Jenny Herrera.

The FBI, Texas Rangers, Department of Homeland Security, and Midland County Sheriff’s Office all joined in on the investigation.

Nine days after Pantoja’s reported disappearance, police arrested her 24-year-old former boyfriend, Mario Juan Chacon Jr., and charged him with murder in connection with her death.

Chacon was taken into custody on May 20 and is currently at the Midland County Jail.

He is currently being held on a $3 million bond, according to the jail records from the Midland County Sheriff’s Office.

Police have revealed few details about the case. However, the affidavit states that Mario Chacon called Pantoja’s brother at 8:30 p.m., saying that he and Pantoja had argued that evening.

The affidavit further states that when Officer Leible entered the apartment, he found “a dirty bucket of water” and noted the floor was “extremely sticky, as it is when too much cleaning product is used.”

Police said they used cellphone pings and surveillance footage to link Chacon to Pantoja’s disappearance and death, KMID reported.

Multiple neighbors at the apartment complex stated they had seen Chacon with a key to the apartment.

Midland Mayor Lori Blong expressed grief for the family during the news conference on Friday.

“I cannot imagine the stress and the concern and worry of Madeline’s family and friends as they’ve gone through this ordeal,” said Blong.

An autopsy will be completed in Dallas as the investigation continues.

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