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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. – Investigators with the Madison County Sheriff’s Office believe the human remains found near an Owens Cross Roads cemetery are those of Oralia Mendoza. She’s the missing grandmother of Mariah Lopez, whose body was found on Lemley Drive last week.

Oralia Mendoza. Courtesy: Madison County Sheriff’s Office

Deputies say they responded to Moon Cemetery on Cave Springs Road based on leads developed overnight. After a short time, deputies located human remains and began a death investigation.

Investigators say they have to wait for the Department of Forensic Sciences for a positive identification on the body, but their evidence supports their belief that it is 49-year-old Mendoza.

Friday morning, the sheriff’s office confirmed the arrests of two men accused in the death of Mariah Lopez. Yoni Martinez Aguilar, 26, and Israel Gonzalez Palomino, 34, are both charged with Capital Murder of a Person Under the Age of 14.

The cemetery is located approximately two miles from Lemley Drive where a farmer found Mariah’s remains June 7th.

Lt. Donny Shaw said the two arrested were acquaintances of Lopez and Mendoza.

Left: Yoni Martinez Aguilar Right: Israel Gonzalez Palomino
(Courtesy: Madison County Sheriff’s Office)


June 3rd or 4th, The Madison County Sheriff’s Office says a missing persons report was filed on Mendoza with the Huntsville Police Department.

On June 7th, a body was discovered on Lemley Drive in Owens Cross Roads. The sheriff’s office asks for public’s help to identify the body.

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office says family members of Mariah Lopez and Oralia Mendoza come to speak with investigators at the sheriff’s office.

On June 14th, sheriff’s office releases the identification of the body. It was 13-year-old Mariah Lopez.

On the same day, the sheriff’s office put out word they were looking for the teen’s guardian/grandmother Oralia Mendoza.

Lt. Donny Shaw says sheriff’s office knew nothing of the missing person’s report filed on Mendoza until family members spoke with investigators at the sheriff’s office.

Lt. Shaw says they looked for a report on the teen, but couldn’t find one filed with HPD.

On June 15th, the sheriff’s office announces two arrests in connection to the teen’s murder and disappearance of Mendoza.

Lt. Shaw says they all knew each other. He says more details will be released.

The same day, leads take them to Moon Cemetery and investigators find human remains. 

Lt. Shaw says remains are likely the missing grandmother Mendoza, but the human remains will be sent off to the Department of Forensic Sciences to be identified.

Investigators still following up on leads.