AUSTIN (KXAN) — Search warrants provided new information about why investigators are searching a field in Pflugerville tied to the Raul Meza Jr. case. Meza is a suspected “serial killer.”
In May, Meza, 62, was arrested and charged after confessing to the murder of his roommate Jesse Fraga, 80. Meza also implicated himself in the murder of Gloria Lofton, 65, in 2019, three years after Austin Police said he was released from Travis County Jail.
In 1982, Meza was convicted of murder in the death of eight-year-old Austin girl Kendra Page. He served 11 years of his sentence for Page’s murder.
Here’s what we know now:
Why law enforcement are searching a field in Pflugerville
After Meza was arrested in connection with the murders of Jesse Fraga and Gloria Lofton, Pflugerville police realized they had previously made contact with Meza on March 11, 2022. He was walking on the side of the road with blood on him, court documents say.
According to the documents, an officer noted Meza “appeared as though he had been in a fight” and that he had “a bloody lip, and numerous scratches to his nose, his cheeks, and his hands. His jacket was torn and his pants were dirty, had two small rips, and one pant leg was pulled up over his boot.”
Documents say Pflugerville police officers asked Meza why he was injured and he refused to give them a clear answer, though he didn’t appear to be under the influence.
The officer said just before he had stopped Meza, he had seen him walking through a large field near the 400 block of Old Austin Pflugerville Road. That’s where KXAN has seen crews searching this week.
Editor’s Note: The above video is KXAN’s previous coverage of authorities searching field in Pflugerville in connection with the Raul Meza Jr. investigation.
Nearby, officers also found Meza’s 2001 red Ford F-150, according to the documents. When questioned about why he and the vehicle were there, Meza referred to a woman, but didn’t give details.
“I gave her a lift, and she’s going towards Hutto,” officers recalled Meza saying.
Officers searched the field near the truck and found brass knuckles, a bag and a smashed cell phone, according to documents.
“It is reasonable to conclude that the woman Meza claimed to have arrived in the area of Old Austin Pflugerville Road may have been murdered and discarded in one of the fields where Meza’s truck was located and further investigation is warranted,” police wrote.
What the field search has found
Documents say law enforcement flew a drone over the field and found “several locations that displayed the properties of a possible burial site.” Police noted human remains left in a field more than a year are likely to decompose and scatter because of the weather and animals.
When crews went and searched that field they say they found clothes, rope and a tarp at one of the sites.
“This area had all the unique characteristics of a grave site to include a depressed area approximately 5 feet in length with an overflow pile of dirt next to it,” investigators wrote.
At the time the field search warrant was submitted, no human remains had been found at the site, it read. Still, police brought in K-9 dogs who indicated there were human remains at the field at some point, documents said.
“Three of the four dogs ran these two locations again and all three dogs showed significant behavior changes specifically at the excavated grave site, two of which provided a full alert for the odor of human remains by barking or sitting,” the search warrant said.
Investigators said they believe an “unidentified female” was with Meza in March 2022 and said “there is a strong possibility that this female is connected to the grave site where dogs alerted to human remains and may potentially be a victim of murder.”
New details about Meza’s arrest
According to the warrant, when Meza was arrested earlier this year for the deaths of Jesse Fraga and Gloria Lofton, he had a bag with a flash light, rope, zipe ties, duct tape, condom, a hand gun and ammunition in it. Police wrote that the “items found within this bag were consistent with the manner of the previous murders.”
Meza confessed to murdering his roommate, Fraga, 80, and implicated himself in the murder of Lofton in 2019, three years after he was released from the Travis County Jail, per Austin police.
APD said it is looking into eight to 10 more cold cases Meza may be connected with but said this number could rise higher as it continues investigating. Meza is currently in the Travis County Jail. Meza told police once he was arrested that he was ready and prepared to kill again, police said.
Meza’s criminal history dates back almost 50 years and includes convictions of aggravated robbery and murder.
In 1975, 15-year-old Raul Meza Jr., along with three others, robbed an Austin convenience store. During the robbery, the manager was led to a walk-in refrigerator, where he was shot in the back and left, according to court documents. The manager survived his gunshot wound and testified at Meza’s trial.
Meza was sentenced to 20 years for his role in the robber but served only five years.
Less than ten years later, Meza was accused of raping and murdering 8-year-old Kendra Page while still on parole for the aggravated robbery. Her body was found in a southeast Austin elementary school dumpster on Jan. 3, 1982.
Meza was convicted of murdering Page and was sentenced to 30 years in prison but served just over 11.
In 1994, Meza was sent back to prison for parole violation. After that, records show Meza was in and out of prisons and jails – sometimes going to halfway houses as far away as El Paso and Ohio.
In 2020, a DNA match was obtained and linked Meza to Gloria Lofton a woman who was found dead in 2019, according to police documents.
In May 2023, Meza confessed to the murder of his roommate Jesse Fraga, 80, and police arrested and charged him.
Investigative Producer Dalton Huey contributed to this report.