Neighbors react after body found near their homes

A Madison County man lives right next door to Moon Cemetery. That’s where investigators say they found the body of who they believe to be missing woman, Oralia Mendoza.

Posted: Jun. 16, 2018 10:27 PM
Updated: Jun. 16, 2018 10:43 PM

Neighbors in Madison County are on edge after hearing a woman’s body was found near their homes.

According to officials, the body believed to be that of missing woman Oralia Mendoza was found at Moon Cemetery on Cave Spring Road on Friday.

Mendoza was the grandmother of 13-year-old Mariah Lopez. Her body was found last week.

Yoni Aguilar and Israel Gonzalez Palomino were arrested and charged with capital murder for killing the teen.

WAAY 31 talked with folks who live near the cemetery about the apparent double homicide.

“It’s very odd, and, of course, it makes me feel like crime is right next door, so to speak. So, when it can happen out here, I guess it can happen anywhere," said James Campbell.

Campbell lives right next door to Moon Cemetery. That’s where investigators say they found the body of who they believe to be missing woman, Oralia Mendoza.

Mendoza was the grandmother of 13-year-old Mariah Lopez, whose body was found just a couple miles away last week, which is something Campbell says he still can’t wrap his head around.

“When people have such little regard for life, it makes me think we’re getting too far away from God and our country," he said.

Campbell says he never expected something like this to happen so close to home, and his neighbors agree.

“I had no idea that the grandmother would be found so close to where I live," said Katherine Henson.

“Especially not next to a cemetery. I mean, that’s kind of why we picked to build here, because it’s nice and quiet," Campbell added. "It’s a cemetery. It’s not made for a dumping ground.”

Campbell says he’s surprised no one saw or heard anything when it happened.

“When you’re coming up and down this road right here, if you’re not from here, then somebody’s going to say, ‘Hey, what are you doing out here?’”

But Katherine Henson says, despite what’s happened, she feels her neighborhood is still a safe place to live.

“I was nervous and scared at first, but it’s so safe here that I’m just happy it’s over," she said.

Neighbors say they’re just glad to hear those behind the crime are now behind bars, and they say they’re thinking about the family of the victims during this difficult time.

“I feel sorry for the family, and I have them in my prayers," Henson said.

“I hope they have God in their lives. I hope that they have peace. I hope they can get through this little piece of bad news, because it’s going to be tough," Campbell added.

Officials tell WAAY 31 the two men who were arrested for killing 13-year-old Mariah Lopez are expected to face more charges in this case.

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