Man charged with killing Austin High student cut her throat, police say

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DECATUR, Ala. – A man charged with killing an Austin High School student cut her throat at her home and then left the state, police said.

According to court documents, the student, 16-year-old Tania Rico, had been in a relationship with Bernandino Miguel Matias, 19, for about three years before she was killed last month.

In court documents filed Thursday, Decatur police said they responded to Rico’s apartment on Bluebird Lane on Oct. 24 after Rico was found dead in a bedroom. Police said Rico had multiple lacerations to her throat.

Rico lived in the apartment with both her mother and Matias, police said. Rico’s mother told police both the teen and Matias were there around midnight.

According to police, and Matias left around 4 a.m., went to his brother’s home and asked him to drive him to Knoxville, Tenn. During the drive, police said Matias told his brother he and Rico had been in a fight and that he knocked her down to the ground.

Rico’s mother said she got up for work just before 9 a.m. and Rico’s door was closed. When Austin High School staff called her at 11 a.m. to tell her Rico wasn’t at school, she tried to call her and could not reach her.

Knoxville police arrested Matias the day after Rico was found. He was brought back to Decatur Monday and booked into the Morgan County Jail on $250,000 bond.

Online court records to not list any upcoming court dates in his case.

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