Two men indicted in Madison County beheading, suspected drug cartel murders

Huntsville

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

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MADISON COUNTY, Ala. — A grand jury indicted two men on capital murder charges in the June 2018 killings of a Madison County woman and her granddaughter.

Court documents show Yoni Martinez Aguilar and Israel Palomino were indicted Friday in the deaths of 49-year-old Oralia Mendoza and her 13-year-old granddaughter, Mariah Lopez.

Oralia Mendoza (left) Mariah Lopez (right) Courtesy: Madison County Sheriff’s Office

The Madison County Sheriff’s Office identified a body found on June 7 at 166 Lemley Drive in Owens Cross Roads as Mariah Lopez. Shortly after, Lopez’s grandmother was reported missing. On June 15, the sheriff’s office discovered human remains two miles from Lemley Drive near Moon Cemetery. The remains were later identified as Mendoza.

Madison County Sheriff’s Office investigator Stacy Rutherford testified at a preliminary hearing in July 2018 that the murders were related to Mendoza’s ties to the Sinaloa drug cartel and that Lopez was beheaded after witnessing Mendoza being stabbed, according to our news partner AL.com.

Aguilar is scheduled for a status call on Dec. 20.  Palomino does not currently have a hearing date scheduled. Each man faces two counts of capital murder.

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