San Diego

Arrest in Homicide of 92-Year-Old Found Dead in National City: PD

Authorities have made an arrest in the homicide of a 92-year-old woman found dead inside her apartment. 

A family member found Maria Rivera, 92, dead on October 22 in an apartment complex on D Street. 

When officers began investigating, they determined the apartment had been burglarized prior to Rivera's death. 

Officials launched a homicide investigation and worked to identify and locate the man responsible for killing her. 

Peter Thao, 26, has been arrested in connection with the homicide, National City Police (NCPD) said Thursday. 

Police arrested the San Diego resident without incident outside of his home on Aries Road. He will be booked into County Jail on related murder charges.

Neighbors who lived near Rivera told NBC 7, they were relieved Thao had been arrested.

"Those times I went to work and back, I really felt uncomfortable leaving the house with them inside," neighbor Ricardo Martinez said, speaking of his family. "There is nobody inside and I didn't have any kind of guard dog or anything like that to help them out. So it's been a stressful 19 days. Yeah, really stressful."

Police declined to comment on what evidence linked Thao to the crime but said they found the evidence inside his home. They also confiscated his car.

Authorities do not believe there are any outstanding suspects, but the investigation is ongoing.

The homicide is believed to be random.

"That is the big mystery, on that there is no connection to this area, no connection to this victim that we know of," said NCPD Lt. Robert Rounds. "And that is what is kinda scary too. That is why it was even more important we have been working this case tirelessly since it happened. Our detectives have been working non-stop on it."

Thao is expected to appear in court on Tuesday.

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