Documents reveal how Decatur homicide suspect was caught in Knoxville, Tennessee

An affidavit shows Tania Rico's body was found at the home address of Bernandino Matias.

Posted: Oct 29, 2019 6:34 PM
Updated: Oct 30, 2019 9:43 AM

The suspect in a Decatur homicide, Bernandino Matias, is in jail in Knoxville, Tennessee, where he was arrested hours after 16-year-old Tania Rico died.

WAAY 31 uncovered new details in court documents.

Bernandino Matias

Decatur police are waiting for Bernandino Matias to arrive at the Morgan County Jail now. We uncovered some documents from the courts in Knox County, Tennessee, that shed light on how he was arrested and why he ended up in Knoxville after the murder on Thursday.

Matias was arrested in Knoxville early Friday morning on murder charges. He's being held there as a fugitive from justice. An affidavit from a Knox County court states he fled Alabama to avoid prosecution for a homicide.

The document also states Matias came in contact with Knoxville police around 1:30 Friday morning. The address given is a home on the city's north side, but the document doesn't say how he came in contact with police.

It also lists his home address as the apartment on Bluebird Lane, where Rico's body was found.

Matias is scheduled for a hearing on the fugitive from justice charge in Knox County on Thursday. Depending on what happens there, the extradition process back to Morgan County can begin.

"It will require extradition paperwork to be completed and for us to obtain the warrant. At that time, our court's transport division will go to Knoxville and bring him back to Decatur to face justice," said Mike Swafford, the spokesperson for the Morgan County Sheriff's Office.

We still don't know how Tania Rico died. Friends say Matias and Rico used to be in a relationship.

Tania Rico's family is having visitation on Thursday from 5:30-6:30 pm at the Reynolds Funeral Home in Decatur. There will be a service on Friday, November 1 at 1:00 pm at the Annunciation-Lord Catholic Church in Decatur.

Rico's family created a GoFund me to help with funeral expenses

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