AUSTIN (KXAN) – In 2019, days after her mother – Gloria Lofton – died, Sonia Houston said Austin Police handed the keys to her late mother’s house and was told nothing about what she would find inside.
“They released the house to me with blood splattered down the hallway. They released the house to me in what was a crime scene,” Houston said. “That’s the house I grew up in. That’s my mother,” she continued.
“I wasn’t prepared for it, nor did they even have the decency to say to me, Miss Houston, you’re gonna walk into something we don’t know if you’re prepared for,” she continued.
Austin Police told Houston and her sister, Christina Fultz, that Lofton’s cause of death was “undetermined,” Houston recalled. Houston said, based on the blood on the walls, she always wondered if there was more to the story. Then in 2023, Houston got a call from APD telling her someone had been arrested for her mother’s murder.
“I called my sister and told her, ‘We were right,’” Houston said.
According to court documents, police found Lofton’s body in her bedroom in 2019. DNA testing was conducted on Lofton’s body, which tested positive for male DNA, according to the affidavit. The final medical examiner report on July 30, 2019, reported that based on observations of Lofton’s body, it is possible that Lofton had been strangled, per the affidavit.
Almost a year following Lofton’s death, a DNA match was obtained, identifying the person as Raul Meza Jr., according to the police documents.
Then on May 24, Austin police received a 311 call from Meza where he admitted to killing his roommate – 80-year-old Jessee Fraga – and implicated himself in Lofton’s murder, per the affidavit.
On June 1, APD said it was conducting an internal review of how investigators pursued the case upon obtaining the DNA match.
Once Police connected Meza with Lofton’s death, they contacted Houston. But still, Houston wishes Police would have been more communicative throughout the entire investigation.
“It’s 2023, and I’m just now finding out this information. So the lack of them keeping in contact with me, as a part of the victim’s family, as I am the victim. They dropped the ball,” Houston said.
Houston’s half-sister Christina Fultz was also with Houston when they went into Lofton’s home after her death. Lofton is Fultz’s biological mother, but Fultz was adopted at a very young age.
Fultz reconnected with Houston in her early 20s, six years before Lofton’s death.
“We walked into the scene, it was disheveled, it was out of the norm,” Fultz recalled.
Fultz said she walked deeper into the house and saw blood and other disturbing remnants. She tried to warn her sister from going further down the hall, but it was too late. They both ran outside and cried, she recalled.
“We could have just gotten a heads up,” Fultz said. “It was horrible.”
Houston has described the recent weeks as “overwhelming” and said she still has many unanswered questions.
“Perhaps if my mother had [lived in] West Austin. And perhaps if I had six figures in my bank account and I had a family lawyer to handle it – but I don’t. But how many other cases were just like my mothers?” she said.
Even though the man charged with her mother’s murder has been arrested, Houston said the pain of missing her mom was sharp.
“I miss that every couple of days I would get a text, saying, ‘Oh, just thinking about you,’” Houston said. “I wish I could tell her ‘I love you’ one more time, to have her see her grandchildren be even better than I was. All those things I miss, and Mr. Mezatook that.”